Given that our jobs have three very distinct roles (Solution Customization, Facilitation, and Business Development), there are no “standard” days or even weeks. Depending on whether you are more focused on one of these roles in a given week will change your reality. That being said, I have tried to capture a week in the life where features from all three roles appear.
Monday mornings are always an interesting start. While there’s no expectation to work on the weekends, it is not uncommon to get emails from clients or colleagues, so the first thing to do is a quick scan of your Inbox. Prioritize the items that need attention today, handle the quick requests that take only a minute, and then review your plan for the day. With a Customization Review tomorrow for the latest simulation you are building, today will mostly be final preparations for that meeting. Around mid-morning, you have a virtual meeting with your Solution Customization team. Two of your colleagues from the same office join you on the call with three other BTSers on the phone; each in a different office location. The meeting’s agenda is to clarify who will make final changes to the PowerPoint deck, what updates to the simulation are needed, and who will print materials for the client presentation tomorrow. As the Project Leader, you are ultimately responsible for the success of this Customization, so it’s critical you and your team have everything ready for a dry run tomorrow afternoon. All of this preparation needs to be finished before you and your team head to the airport.
On the way to the airport, you have to shift gears a bit as you take a sales call regarding a potential new project. Though your colleague had the initial conversation with this prospective client, you were brought in as the specialist in working with the types of employees the client is looking to train. Your colleague manages introductions and gets the client talking with a few introductory questions. From there, you lead the majority of the discussion with the client to understand their priorities and desired results. The call wraps up as you are arriving at the airport.
Tuesday starts early as your team finalizes your parts and completes the dry run for the Customization Review with the client this afternoon. As you walk into the conference room at the client’s office, you see a variety of faces from their organization. Some you know from when you originally sold them this project. Others you have met along the way while customizing the project. However, there are few new faces – each of whom turn out to have a stake in the success of this project. As the Project Leader, you’re kicking off the meeting before you turn over various parts of the presentation to team members. While each team member leads their section, your job is to drive input from the clients to help improve the Customization. After the meeting, your team returns to the airport for a celebratory drink (or two) and discusses action items resulting from the meeting. While most of your team will be heading home, you are off to the next city this week, as you are attending a Train the Trainer on Wednesday for a program that you will be facilitating for another client on Thursday and Friday.
Wednesday finds you transitioning from Project Lead to team member as you spend the day going through a program one of your colleagues has customized with several other BTSers doing the same. It’s a two-day simulation focused on enabling the client to walk a mile in their customer’s shoes. The participants will be running the business of their customers so that they better understand how to sell to those customers. With a few sporadic breaks for email, most of the day is spent dissecting this program with your colleague and doing dry-runs on facilitation and practicing with your colleagues. After a dinner with the group to welcome everyone and socialize, it’s back to your hotel room for an hour or two of solo preparation for tomorrow – which typically involves you pacing around the room practicing facilitating aloud.
By the time you share the final results, people are on the edge of their seats holding their breath."
Thursday is the moment of truth as you take the front of the room with 30 complete strangers staring back at you, wondering exactly how they are going to walk a mile in their customer’s shoes. You are filled with many different emotions that day, and it’s exhilarating. After a quick introduction from the client’s executive sponsor , it is time to facilitate. It begins with you introducing the group to the simulation – its purpose, some context, and since it’s a competition, how they win. As the participants begin the first round of the simulation, there are often several questions to answer, as participants are learning the mechanics of the simulation. Quickly, the room turns into six tables of participants standing and talking through the trade-offs of the decisions they have to make when running their customer’s business. Your job shifts from answering questions about the mechanics of the simulation to pushing them to think more deeply about the implications of one course of action versus another.
After the first round of the simulation, you have to analyze the results of each team as you’ll be giving a presentation shortly, showing how the teams earned the result they did and how, after the first round, the team in first place is leading the pack. Although this is a presentation on the simulation results, it starts with several jokes before you transition into discussing the simulation decisions the participants made, as well as how those decisions tie back to the real world.
After your presentation, the participants are off again into the second round of the simulation which will take them to the end of the day. At the end of the day, you once again conduct an analysis of their decisions as you will start day two with another presentation on their results from this second simulation round. But first, what good is having a bunch of BTSers in one place if you don’t get to have a little fun. Dinner and drinks quickly turns into a little karaoke, and inevitably the “next American Idol” emerges from the group after a crazy-awesome rendition of Bruno Mars.
Friday morning begins early presenting round two results of the simulation. After your presentation, the groups are off again into the third and final round of the simulation. Much like the previous two rounds, after round three, you are delivering the final results presentation. At this time you are crowning a victor for the simulation. You can feel the excitement and tension as you take the stage to deliver the final results. You take your time discussing the decisions the group faced in round three. By the time you share the final results, people are on the edge of their seats holding their breath. As you announce the winning team, they erupt out of their seats cheering and high-fiving. You can’t help but smile, because the EVP of Sales at this multi-billion dollar company is dancing around the room with his team that just won, all the while being heckled by the CFO, whose team came in second. Finally, you are back at the airport for a celebratory drink and flight home. Next week, it’s back to your Customization for your client and a few more sales meetings, but not before a good weekend with the family.