Julie Craig

29 May 2024
Topics in this article
  • Life at Proxima

Let me get the cliché out of the way—every day in the life of a Client Manager is different. It’s true, though—every day in this role brings different challenges and rewards. It’s never boring, never dull. On this particular day in my life, I’m working from home in Manchester, a nice contrast to my busy day in the big smoke yesterday and a chance to get organized ahead of being on a client site in Geneva for the next two days.

06:00

My alarm rings, and a couple of snoozes later, I spring out of bed and get to the gym—starting the day in the best way and providing a sense of calm. Even the best-laid plans can go awry in this role, which, of course, keeps it exciting and keeps me on my toes, but ensuring I start my day with something for me – be it the gym, a walk, or a hearty breakfast – controlling how I start my day is something that proves to pay off.

08:00

I settle back at my desk, fuelled by coffee, and feel energized (not solely by the caffeine). It’s time to start my daily calls with my (current) team, discussing the plan for the day and any challenges that need addressing and help to be allocated. I say ‘current’ as the team I work with switches from engagement to engagement. Right now, I’m managing a core team of junior and senior consultants and flexing that with additional subject matter expertise as the program requires.

We take some time to align on plans for the coming days. I like to ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to preparing for client site visits. Landing into a luxury goods environment (as we are in Geneva) requires a certain style of professionalism that isn’t as necessary for other clients I have helped, such as in the creative industries. Being ’suited and booted’ in a room of laid-back creatives screams consultants—not very helpful when wanting to be seen as part of their team.  

09:00

I have an hour free to catch up on admin before my monthly client review with our EVP at 10 a.m. I check my financial reporting and resource requirements and consider the opportunities for us and our client. On our call, we discuss how the program is progressing, whether the team is happy and motivated, and whether the client is satisfied with delivery. We challenge the opportunities identified and escalate any unresolved risks or issues that may impact the program.

I always appreciate this direct access to the Board. Sure, you need to be prepared, but it’s also a chance to welcome constructive critique, expert advice, and support.

11:30

A call with my lead stakeholder in Geneva to plan the supplier workshops we have scheduled while we’re there. We discuss the logistics, agenda, and target outcomes. Some of the workshops will explore recalibrating requirements and adjusting specifications, while others will be more focused on negotiating an improved deal. We align on roles and responsibilities, following which, I brief the rest of the team that are attending.

With my meeting ending five minutes earlier than planned, I submitted my expenses from yesterday. In classic ‘British Rail’ fashion, my train home was delayed, so I went through the arduous ‘Delay Repay’ process, too.

Right, lunchtime! While adding cheese to my sandwich, my mind wanders to the lunch I might have in Geneva, where to grab my morning coffee, and what perks might be available on site. In past clients, they’ve ranged from free coffee to free crumpets—quite the glam life, this.

13:30

Post-lunch brings the daily curveball. Today, it’s from another client I am managing, in the form of one of the team members raising a risk of missing the deliverable deadline. Whereas the Geneva program is focused on large-scale cost transformation, this program is smaller-scale and focused on targeted capability transformation. The team is pretty self-sufficient in managing the day-to-day, but they also know when to raise the alarm.

I jump on a call to understand the risk in more detail, and it transpires that the stakeholder we were relying on for key inputs has taken unexpected leave. Acting quickly, I rearrange an internal meeting and get in touch with our lead client stakeholder. Although not scheduled, we have a good rapport and are often in contact in a less formal way to ensure timely decisions.

We agree that the outstanding input is critical for a part of the deliverable. So, with no other way to obtain it, we settle on a two-part delivery across the original date and a week later when the stakeholder returns. Disaster averted; client satisfied.

15:30

With our US colleagues now online, I reach out to check that all is progressing nicely on their side. My current team spans the UK and US—a common construct when we serve such a range of global clients. I leave the call thinking of ideas for getting the team together for a social. It might need to be virtual, with follow-up dinners or drinks in the respective geographies. Either way, I’m well-versed in the importance of getting people together, socializing, and celebrating successes. Since we won Team of the Year in the company awards, I often scheme about how to retain the title.

17:00

One of my favorite parts of the role is mentoring and developing team members. I end my day with a one-to-one meeting with one of the Consultants on my team, checking in on not only progress but also their personal objectives. With an extensive apprenticeship culture in the organization, ensuring the right opportunities are available for those seeking professional development is an important responsibility.

19:00

All packed and time for dinner plans with friends, providing just the balance needed before a hectic but exciting couple of days. Although I know 80% of what’s to come tomorrow, I also look forward to 20% that’s variable—as long as there are no more train delays.

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