Some of my colleagues are very good at giving their twitter followers a constant snapshot of their life on a daily, sometimes even on an hourly basis. I have not mastered that ‘discipline’ yet. But as I have a few hours to kill on my flight back from Calgary I thought I would share with you what my week has been like so far.
I have been on the road since 6am, Monday spending two days in Vancouver then two in Calgary before returning to Ottawa Friday, before flying out first thing Saturday morning for a critical client meeting in Toronto. Hopefully I’ll get Sunday off!

If I am lucky I may get the chance to even spend a couple of hours with my wife Maureen and one of my daughters, Lianne, who are in Toronto this weekend.

I know this sounds like a busy life and I admit it can be tiring at times – but when I reflect on what I have done this week, I can’t say I would have it any other way. I had the opportunity to meet with five different clients in a four day period, covering topics as diverse as a pre-budget submission, bilateral air agreements and public engagement on major pipeline infrastructure. I do my preliminary reading while on my flight with staff providing in-depth briefings before I meet the client.

I also met with a potential business partner in the area of experiential marketing which is a priority for us in this year’s business plan. I will blog more about our plan another time. In brief, for H&K to continue on its growth path we are looking for new sources of revenue that are natural extensions of our brand. Experiential is one new source of revenue we are studying.

Speaking of the business plan, the actual purpose of the trip was to share our 2011 business plan with our BC and Alberta offices. Both provinces are coming off very good years and represent regions of the country where our growth rate is the highest. So it seemed only fitting to start our annual staff business plan presentations with a ‘Western Swing’.

While in Alberta, I also participated in a very interesting day-long business planning session that was structured around building scenarios as a pathway to strategic growth. I found the session reassuring because it largely confirmed that we had identified the key external influences on our business, and had adequately anticipated their implications on our future plans. For those who have not tried it, scenario planning can be a very useful tool, and I would encourage you to use the services of S2S (Scenarios to Strategy Inc), a very capable company specializing in scenario building workshops.

Of course, no trip would be complete without a heavy dose of local politics. I got a good sense of the BC leadership contest from various members of our staff who are aligned with different candidates. In Alberta I was privileged to meet two potential candidates for the Alberta Premiership. As you know Premier Stalmach announced his decision to step down earlier this week. Within twenty four hours candidates were already lining up strategists, communicators and fundraisers for a run at the top job.

What a great week I had! I even managed to nail down a Mediterranean cruise for my 30 year wedding anniversary, and signed off on my daughter’s Michelle’s decision to have her wedding reception at the National Art Gallery. That’s one daughter down – two to go!

In case my mother reads this – I‘ve also eaten well and managed to maintain my new year’s resolution for this month! So why do I do all this? It’s hard to say, but I do love my job – It’s varied, at times complex, at times trying but always interesting and diverse.

Can’t wait for next week!


Authored by: Mike Coates