Monday morning begins by hopping on a plane to fly to my client, a large energy company in Canada, six hours flight time away. My colleagues and I catch up on the previous weekends' happenings over breakfast, and then I take advantage of the plane ride to prepare for the week ahead. On site, we've just kicked off a team to cut the losses (which could save hundreds of millions of dollars) - an aggressive but exciting project!
By midday, we've arrived on site. I head right to a meeting with my team to review and understand the facility process, which is massively complex. Experts from different parts of the facility comprise our team, so everyone's able to bring their local knowledge. We want to construct a flow balance around part of the process - something people have tried before, but haven't been able to finish because of its complexity. As the team's facilitator, my role in the meeting is not only to provide structure, but also to ask questions and challenge long-held assumptions about what can and can't be done. We collaborate really well and make some great breakthroughs, allowing us to see solutions! The team leaves the meeting excited to charge ahead, and we agree to meet Wednesday afternoon to continue our work.
I head back to my desk. After shooting off a few quick emails to prepare for Wednesday's meeting, the whole Stroud team heads back to our apartments in town. After a quick trip to the grocery store, we all convene at one apartment to eat pizza together while watching Monday Night Football.
After a quick check-in with my team Tuesday morning, I meet with my line manager to talk about the team's progress and make sure our approach moving forward is optimal. He challenges me to bounce some ideas off of members of my team: suggestions for improvement which they may think are impossible. But I've challenged them before on similar mental constraints, and we've been able to break through these artificial barriers and realize even better solutions.
I type up my talking points into my agenda and then suit up in what feels like a full set of armor of warmth and safety gear to head out to the plant itself. Last week, there was some confusion about where some of the piping went, so we're heading into the plant to get a first-hand look and clear up these discrepancies. This is my first time inside a plant; I'm greeted by whirring sounds emanating from mammoth machines and pumps for the maze of piping overhead. A team member who's intimately familiar with this part of the plant guides us around. We note the piping scheme in the area we need, then head back to our (markedly quieter) offices.
My colleagues have been raving about the massive new aquatic facility in town, so after work several of us drive down to go for a swim. I opt for a workout in the lap pool, but I'm in the minority - most people head straight to the multi-storey waterslide. After an hour, we regroup and grab dinner at our favorite sushi restaurant.
Today's the day our team will meet to finish identifying possible solutions, and then prioritize them. Around midday, the team assembles to discuss each proposed solution. We prioritize them based on the savings that solution would yield, and also how complex it would be to implement. This helps our team to align on exactly what order to pursue solutions - we'll go in order which will get us the biggest 'bang for our buck'. After we've developed clear priorities and an action plan, the team members leave. The client team leader, however, sticks around to tell me how excited he is about what we've just accomplished; he's been trying to get these solutions implemented for what feels like forever, but roadblocks have derailed his plans. By listing out exactly what needs to be done, and getting everyone to agree on what to do, the team has momentum that they haven't experienced before!
After work, one of my colleagues has organized a Stroud team outing to go curling. Most of us have never been before. After about an hour, we've all figured out how to stay vertical (for the most part), and are able to play a full game!
In the morning, we meet with the department leaders to show our team's progress. They're very excited to see our progress. They give us good insight about our next steps, and offer to devote an extra resource to enable even quicker implementation - a huge win for the team!
Around midday, it's time to head to the airport to catch our flight back to Boston. Over lunch on the plane, I work with my line manager to reflect on my personal development over the week and set both goals for next week.
My colleague picks me up Friday morning to carpool to our office in Marblehead. After a quick pit stop for coffee on the way, we arrive. First on the agenda today are individual presentations: everyone in the company regularly presents status updates on the work they've been doing at their respective sites. Since Stroudies are stationed across North America, these presentations are a great way for everyone to catch up on the great work others are doing at different locations.
Afterwards, I've signed up for an internal workshop on networking. The presenters generate a great discussion, which ultimately dispels my thought of networking as something 'sleazy' (rather, it's something that's mutually beneficial!). It's great to learn from everyone's experiences and hear successful anecdotes of networking - I thought I was too young to start building a network, since I just graduated from college, but their insight helped to convince me otherwise.
The day is nearly over; after sending off a few quick emails to clients, I hop in the car to carpool back to Boston. In the car, we plan an impromptu dinner together downtown (which will likely be followed by drinks together). It's been a great week, and now it's time to unwind, relax and enjoy my weekend!