Dear readers, many of you are wondering I’m sure why Monsieur Shores is writing so much about past work & family experiences, rather than looking to the future in retirement and writing about that instead. A good question that deserves a good explanation!
As I mentioned in the last but one blog, our lives are currently in limbo while the house move comes to fruition, so I’m keeping my powder dry by writing about the past. I am also writing about things real time about the house move but most I admit are nostalgic.
So it is in this spirit I will now share with you an experience I shared with two members of the Executive Programs CIO service before I became UK-Ireland leader. One of the perks of being an Executive Partner was that the CIOs I looked after really valued peer networking. I quickly learnt that if you can get the personality and experience fit right these mini-communities could be very powerful for clients and very enjoyable for all. After all everyone was working so hard in their jobs that relaxing in the company of peers was a real opportunity to recharge the batteries and learn.
I’ve always been a social animal and so meeting people across a dinner table was a double plus, but I also like to get home to the family before it gets too late. As a result I often used to host informally at The Ivy near Covent garden using their pre-theatre dinner menu. With this option you could keep the “budget” within reasonable limits as long as clients didn’t go mad ordering the wine or going off piste on the a la carte menu. Despite frequent teasing they always did which allowed me to continue these events over a number of years.
Given Gartner is an American owned company the Walter Mitty in me decided that while colleagues in the US were enjoying a Bank Holiday celebrating Independence Day each 4th July, I would repay the compliment by enjoying the Ivy set menu celebrating the same but in reverse! 🙂
Normally I would catch the train into London and then have a taxi take me back home along with a couple of clients and drop them off en route. For some reason on this occasion on 4th July 2005 I decided to drive in my relatively new BMW 320i convertible which I parked up in China Town underground car park and avoid alcohol that evening. It’s rather humbling to think that only 3 days later London would be hit by the 7/7 bombings.
In any event, after a very enjoyable discussion together with about 6 clients, I walked to the car with 2 guests, one a CIO from a Lloyd’s insurance syndicate, the other from a rather powerful government department that will remain nameless. It was a hot, sultry evening so I lowered the roof and set off via Trafalgar Square for home without a care in the world.
Before I knew it a police snatch squad in a “jam sandwich” screamed up parallel to me with lights flashing and my heart jumped into my mouth. A rather young policeman with a skinhead cut glared at me and shouted I’d just gone through a red light.
My initial reaction was that I hadn’t, but then I spotted the police car was a BMW – hard top with no air conditioning and no in car entertainment, so I paused in my reply and fixed a Frank Spencer type grin which seemed to infuriate him more. Gallantly my two passengers did their best to try and avoid any kind of interaction, Dominic S staring intently into his Blackberry and Michael T hunching down into his seat trying to avoid being seen.
At this point I wondered if it would do any good to say that I worked for the CIO of the Metropolitan Police but decided on reflection to keep stum as by now he was holding his truncheon in his right hand and slapping it with increasing frequency into his left. At this point providence intervened and a cackle on the police radio announced a more pressing incident to investigate and the driver rather loudly told his passenger to “leave the pr**k” and roared off.
After a rather pregnant pause my two partners in crime straightened their ties and came to my rescue applauding my silent reaction to these chain of events. A rather somber Mr Shores made his way home and vowed it would be a taxi from now on! 😦