Occasionally in Star Trek, the entire command crew beams down to a planet, only for some emergency to befall the ship. It falls upon the junior officers to manage the situation (which of course they do admirably).
Something like that happened to us yesterday.
We’d arranged an away day at the Salutation Hotel in Perth for all six project leaders with the management team – basically the entire senior staff. We were discussing the company’s desired behaviours and values and how to model and implement these, with specific reference to the role of the project leader in various types of project and in the giving and receiving of feedback.
This was very helpful for all of us. We identified our own strengths and weaknesses in how well we matched up to the company’s ideals, and did some fine-tuning to the values and behaviours themselves. We discussed the wide variety of projects we can be expected to lead – not just production projects but, for example, client development, marketing campaigns, internal infrastructure upgrades, and recruitment – and the typical tasks and workflows involved. And we spent some time talking in particular about feedback, referring to the results of a recent staff survey on the subject.
While we were at lunch, our directors checked their email, as they often do. An email had just been sent from the building manager of our office block, warning them that the power company had decided to do some urgent repairs. The electric power would be out for up to an hour. Starting in a few minutes’ time.
We quickly phoned Kat, one of our Editorial Office Co-ordinators and the nominated in-charge person back in the office. She took a lot of persuading that we weren’t pranking her! Finally we convinced her that we were serious and set her to shutting down all the workstations in the office in advance of the power cut, ensuring all work was saved.
Meanwhile, we used the hotel’s wifi to remotely log in to our office-based servers and shut them down. They are on a UPS (uninterruptible power supply – basically a giant battery) so they probably wouldn’t have noticed, but we didn’t want to take chances.
Of course the next thing that happened was that the power company decided they didn’t need to cut the power to the building after all. Now Kat is sure we were pranking her.