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  • Writer's picturePeter Smith

FRIDAY 1Oth MARCH 2000; What will Richard do?

Normal work has virtually dried up; I am getting around 5 emails a day instead of the normal 30. I go and have a chat with Mike in Group Property. His counterparts do not seem to be taking as co-operative an approach as ours. They seem to want to gather lots of data and disappear back to Edinburgh to develop plans. Mike has sent them a fax saying he understands that is not the way it is supposed to be happening and he is sending staff up to Edinburgh this weekend to start the "team" approach. That seems to have stirred things up! We discuss whether we would move to Edinburgh, whether you are dismissing yourself (and therefore won't get a pay-off) if you refuse to take psychometric tests, and other interesting matters.

Bernard calls to see how things are. He apologises for disappearing so quickly; he is obviously still quite hurt by the whole experience, but has had one job offer already, so clearly he is not going to starve or lack for things to do! He thinks Richard is far from sure he wants to stay. Richard has taken three years in NatWest to get Finance set up in the way he wants it - one element of which is strong central control - and RBS seems to run things on a different, more de-centralised model. And Richard has very strong standards and beliefs, so I cannot see him pragmatically accept something he doesn't think is right. He will also want real power and authority.

I wander over to Lothbury after lunch. As I have no boss, I am hoping Richard will sign off my expenses and a few invoices. I also hope to get a few minutes with him, but he is in meetings so I only see him for two minutes and don't have a chance to ask him about his position. Ken, who works for Richard, says that the Finance contact seems to be all one way; RBS are sucking up information and not giving much in return. On the other hand, one of my HR contacts tells me that all the senior HR people are up in Edinburgh, and there seems to be a bit of a charm offensive underway. I ask him what he thinks of psychometric tests. Rubbish in most cases, is the answer.

But he believes that the selection process for senior jobs will consist of two questions; the first is, "Are you prepared to work in Edinburgh?"

If the answer is "yes", you get through to question two, which is, "Who is your current employer?"

If the answer is NatWest, then you win only if you are the sole candidate! I'm sure he is being over-cynical.

Leave around four, but get held up at Waterloo. There's been another accident- a full train coming into the station has run into an empty train at the platform. No-one dead, thank goodness, but takes me almost two hours to get home. Perhaps the prospect of a half­ hour commute to my mansion in a nice Scottish village is attractive after all ...

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