I’m often asked where I am. Where site are you at today? Which continent are you on? It has become more common since our organisation became larger, more global and more connected…but it was already a regular event.
I always like it when anyone asks me this question. Anyone who cares enough to ask about me – or is interested enough to care – is good. It’s the same logic if anyone wonders if I travel too much, or too infrequently; work too hard or too little. It is all good. It’s good to know that people care.
I like it when I can answer that I am at my home site. It is good to have a base and it is always good to be at home. Even if I my answer is prefaced with the customary ‘I flew back over night, but…’
A colleague explained last week that the only time they really know where I am is when we are in the same room. Technology helps – I can send emails and make calls anywhere there is a cell signal or Wi-Fi. And with our internet phones I appear to call from my office whether I am in the US, Eu or UK.
Sometimes the real benefit – the added value if you will – from being on Site rather than in a hotel, airport or at home, are those impromptu interactions…those moments I find myself on a site in a discussion with a colleague…not emailing, or telephoning or messaging…but talking.
I had several such interactions last week. I was visiting our UK clinical operation, ostensibly to attend a series of meetings on projects and partners…budgets and investments…opportunities and risks – whilst also taking time to meet some of the local team. All great and high value, but then at the last minute my schedule changed and I found an unexpected meeting appear in my calendar.
I didn’t know what to expect…apparently it was something to do with data, analysis and helping our partners and patients. I had heard that ‘introduction’ before and so I wondered as I waited. But I needn’t have worried. It was compelling and compulsive. Inspiring and energising.
I found myself in a discussion with a colleague who had thought in detail about what we had asked them to do. Someone who had listened intently to what our internal and external stakeholders were saying. Someone who exuded great passion and commitment…who partnered and shared. Someone who evidently wanted to make a real difference and was intent on helping…because it was the right thing to do and because they could.
We were soon in deep conversation about our partners and our studies. About recruitment and endpoints…people and projects…risk and impact. I knew immediately I was seeing and hearing was something special. Every question I thought of was answered before I asked it.
I realised very quickly that I wanted more time on this discussion (and that I needed some better questions to ask). I doubt I will be able to offer much help let alone any insight, but I just knew I wanted to hear and see more. We have set up time. It will have to be an online meeting – ideally a videoconference – rather than in person. But I am excited.
I never cease to be amazed at how much we learn from our experiences and from each other. In this case I believe we are on the cusp of something special and impactful…and if so we will have benefited from multiple people on many sites working together…complemented by outstanding individuals on specific sites applying their excellence to the team…