We had our Christmas meal in Inverness last Friday. It is an opportunity for our offices in Inverness and Elgin to come together, relax and chill.
Just before this, the media circus was kicking up a storm about some of Boris’ parliamentary advisers being caught out a year after they had been fooling around and stupidly recorded themselves being absolute ******s about a gathering in Downing Street in 2020, the day before Boris announced that such gatherings would need to stop. They were behaving stupidly, and I think this, above all else was evidence that there are stupid people in Downing Street who should just not be there, and some will pay with their jobs… some will not. We went ahead with our gathering (i.e. not a party).
Anyway, we had a meal. It was not a party, and I can vouch for the fact that, over a glass of wine, or two, there was some business discussed. So, was this a business meeting where we had some food, and a few drinks, or something else. There was music playing so was it a party? I must admit that I would not have played the usual old 70s Xmas pop songs if it was my party and there certainly was no dancing. So, perhaps not a party, and I think it might be stretching things a bit to call it a business meeting. We were out for a meal, just 15 of us.
We have been to various locations over the years but this year we went to Prime, the steak and seafood bar on the banks of the river in Inverness. Ken Loades and his team certainly made it a memorable experience. We sat down to eat at about 1pm and then 3.5 hours later got up and went upstairs to their fabulous whisky and cocktail bar, recently rebranded as The Wee Bar. Small bar but another fabulous experience with a large range of Malt whiskies and cocktails to savour in a cosy and relaxing setting. My favourite drink of the evening was a “Smoke and Coke”. You’ll just have to go and try it for yourself. Well, they did not have any draught Guinness. People drifted away during the course of the evening until it was just Helen, me and the youngins from the Inverness office. We left them to it at about 9.30pm and walked back to where we were staying.
You must have things like this in any business. You see a different side to people, and you get to understand them better. It’s a chance to just chill and get to know each other where you are not judging each other on performance, efficiency, time keeping etc. You also find out things you did not previously know and areas of common interest that you did not realise you had. How many of you only see your work colleagues in the same old work environment and never venture to learn more? You don’t necessarily need somewhere like Prime and the Wee Bar to achieve this, especially if you are not in that area but there will be other similar places that you can go, that will be closer at hand.
Of course, you can take the time to get to know new staff in a break during the working day. It’s surprising what you learn about each other in those quick 5-minute breaks in the working day. The other day, one of our newer members of staff asked me a question. She said, and I quote “What is it that YOU do?” Obviously, it was not immediately apparent to her, even though we have worked in adjacent rooms since she started. Now, this sort of question coming out of the blue does catch you out, and I really had to think about how to describe my role in our business. My first reaction to the question was annoyance, but then the brain kicked in and recognised that this was a good, genuine question. It was just that I did not have an immediate answer. It took me out of my comfort zone, which is always a good place to go (or be taken). I will be stronger going forward for being forced to confront this question.
I am going to come back to this next week. It’s a subject worth exploring.
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Alan E Long
The Long Partnership