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Lyons Davidson’s AGM 2011

This year’s AGM saw a return to a central location with sheer weight of numbers (just over 800) dictating the choice of a new venue, namely Bristol’s Colston Hall.

Always difficult to comment objectively when you’ve been so closely involved in the planning, writing and delivery, but it seemed to me that this year’s AGM was again well received and that we largely met the twin objectives of keeping people informed and enthused.

This year, the different offices all produced stands and displays in the foyer, showing off their individual identity – some great effort from them, and some interesting results ranging from a Devon beach scene to Wimbledon-inspired strawberries and cream. The change of venue also made these far more accessible than on a previous occasion at the Bristol Hippodrome.

It’s always been important to try to vary the content and format as much as possible. The first example of this was the financial update. The speech by Nick Delaney, our Chief Finance Officer, had undergone a transformation that retained all of the content but attempted to deliver it in a more conversational style.

Whilst Bernie Rowe and I reprised our traditional roles as joint comperes, it was good this year to introduce and involve other key players in the management team, including Tom Naylor’s presentation highlighting key operational projects and Mark Savill’s key innovations projects section. The focus of both was the operational changes implemented and system improvements being worked on to improve communication with our clients, from telephone service standards to .sms updates and online information.

The roving mike session enabled Michelle Lennaghan and Carol Parsons to go out into the audience and ‘interview’ a number of other individuals on several current topics, such as:

  • “Three phase working” providing more consistent extended office hours for our clients;
  • ILEX training and the funding options available to our employees;
  • Lyons Davidson Scotland and our new office in Edinburgh;
  • Our Green Office initiatives and our approach to Corporate Social Responsibility.

Bernie’s ‘vision statement’ section was perhaps shorter than usual, largely by virtue of the fact that others had covered a good deal of the topical content. We then finished up with the traditional run through of key announcements, achievements and appointments, accompanied by continuous applause.

My personal highlight was the Star Trek video, scripted by Mark Savill and I, and expertly engineered and produced by Richard Toller from our IS Department. Quite a bit of effort had gone into ensuring that the content of the script did actually get as many key messages across, in terms of explaining to the audience precisely what our central management group (Group 30) was involved in. Whether all this was really absorbed or whether it was merely seen as a somewhat over-indulgent exercise will no doubt be revealed once everyone has had an opportunity to feed back!

Time was a bit of a problem this year. An overrun by 30 minutes meant that drinks and conversation after the event were very much curtailed, particularly with coaches queued up for a 6pm departure for returns to the offices outside of Bristol. Certainly something that may need a rethink before next year.

The choice of venue was a real positive and a ‘no brainer’ for next year. The choice of topics, areas of focus, format and individual involvement may well require a degree more thought and consideration, but after our eleventh AGM, the planning for the twelfth begins shortly.

Posted on Jun 21st, 2011 by Lyons Davidson