Back in December 1998, when we first achieved our Investors in People accreditation, it had been the culmination of a couple of years of hard work. Two weeks ago we had our first review.
Leading up to this, we started to have doubts. Were we still doing all the things that we did back in 1998? Had we let things slip? Or were all of those things that we had put in place to first get the award now well and truly embedded within our organisation? We were about to find out.
Our assessor - we'll call him John - was a very nice man. But then inspectors, assessors and the like are always very nice, unless they don't find in your favour. Then they are equal to the referee who has just awarded a penalty against your team. John, though, did the original assessment and recommended us for the award in 1998, so that is why we thought him very nice.
As requested, we provided him with a list of all of our 450 staff, including length of service, grade and position. He then selected 55 people he wanted to interview over a three-day period.
There are always those members of staff you would rather he didn't interview - you are never sure just how they will react, or what they will say.
Amazingly, he picked all of them and, because of who they are, the last thing you can do is talk to them yourself before the interview. You just know that if you do the first thing they will tell the assessor is, "Yes, Mr Ware said you would ask me that question and told me what I should say."
I had two interviews with John. The first was for one hour at the start of the three-day marathon, the other was at the end, when he tells you what his findings are and if you can retain your badge.
I suddenly realised that a bad result would mean changing all our stationery, business cards, presentation folders and more. Would I still be allowed to wear my Investors in People T-shirt, or would that be an offence?
All my worrying was unnecessary - we passed. In fact, he thought we had made significant progress. Yes, there were areas that needed improving - there always would be - but, all in all, it was a very good review.
Then, as he left, he quoted that famous movie catchphrase that has terrified so many people: "I'll be back."
RICHARD WARE is head of catering and house services at the London Borough of Havering
Next diary from Richard Ware: 29 March