Our new bathroom project continues apace. We are just past the halfway point with another two or three days left until we can enjoy an Alan Partridge-style deep bath. The last two days has been dominated by plasterers; making good our newly tile-free walls and removing the 1970’s artex from the ceiling. It’s starting to look like a room again, ready to receive the new equipment – I couldn’t find a better word than ‘equipment’ but was determined to avoid the bathroom jargon of ‘suite’.
Today, during the second day of plastering, I was in Manchester, working. One of the things I do in my portfolio of work, writing and studying is two days a week working with a Manchester-based public affairs and strategic communications agency, Lexington North. I have been involved with them for just over five months and made my way down the M62 today for some meetings and catch ups with colleagues.
I had been reluctant – since my less than enjoyable time working with PwC – to set-up another relationship that involved me, an office (that wasn’t my own at home) and some colleagues. I wasn’t looking for such an arrangement when I met the owner of Lexington North last year and yet something about him and what he has built grabbed my attention. It has held it ever since and today provided more supportive evidence.
Readers of this blog will know that I recently entered my 40th year – hence my #ben2b40 year of blogging. The 39th step is now a somewhat distant memory so I was surprised today to be handed a card and gift in the office. It was a kind gesture but something that fits perfectly with the culture of the organisation; a culture which I have felt, smelt and touched since the first time I met folk there and every time I interact with them.
Like all cultures it is set by the top – by the example provided by the big chief and their senior folk. It has been built on respect, kindness and sensitivity but a decent dose of northern common sense, pragmatism and humour. It is a fun place to be but a place where hard work is done and done well. Friendly, relaxed but professional. Decent. I always enjoy my time in the office and, importantly, I like the people who work there. It is exactly what a workplace should be.
I have been around a lot and witnessed up close many organisations of all shapes and sizes in different parts of the economy – I know that there is something special happening in this corner of Manchester. It is something authentic and honest. Something exciting. Something impressive. Something I am proud to be involved with – and that’s not the present and card talking.