Friends asking casually how I'm doing - perhaps wondering why I've been somewhat incommunicado - are used to hearing that life's been crazily busy. But even by my standards, the past month's been ridiculous. My longest spell at home between trips in the past five weeks - weekends included - has been 28 hours.
There's been some non-work stuff. Wonderfully, yet slightly bizarrely, I conducted the wedding ceremony for two dear friends - after they'd done the legal niceties a couple of days before. Other highlights: Richard III in Leicester cathedral, where said king is buried; discovering the wonderful Suffolk town of Southwold, and enjoying some amazing Hungarian wine.
But mostly, what's kept me busy has been running 15 courses in a month, for a total of 253 staff - including salespeople, bid / proposal specialists, subject matter experts and senior executives. And each event has been different, with client-specific agendas and case studies. I've presented on numerous different topics: three variants of our award-winning masterclass, for different companies. Sessions on executive summaries and qualification, and a "practical writing skills workshop". An intensive "winning proposals and pitches" event for a global sales team's annual kick-off, at Leeds Business School. A rather lovely new course on "Leading Winning Proposal Teams in a Virtual Environment" (updating some of our existing content to reflect the latest thinking and research). All of this alongside three APMP certification workshops around the UK.
I'm exhausted just writing the list. But I'm exhilarated, too - because for those courses on which feedback forms were completed - according to the client's preferences - the average scores have been (in order) 98%, 99%, 93%, 94%, 98%, 95%, 100%, 95%, 96% and 96%. We also had a 100% pass rate for the candidates on the APMP Foundation courses. It’s been a whirlwind month, but amazing to think I’ve inspired so many people to think differently about proposals – and that they’ve rated the events so highly.
I'm slightly concerned, though, that so much training has taken me away for a few weeks from working on live deals and running projects to help clients to improve their proposal processes. And our training only works so well because it's not delivered in a vacuum: it's not a theoretical approach but one grounded in our day-to-day experiences of helping teams to win.
So although there's a fair amount of course delivery booked into my diary for the rest of the year - as well as the opening keynote at the biggest bid/proposal conference of 2017 in the Asia Pacific region - I'm itching to get my sleeves rolled up. Talking about it and inspiring people is so rewarding. But doing gives me just as much of a kick as discussing.
And, in the meantime, I’m taking a few days off to recover – and to spend some time with my wife, son and cats!