Brain Food: Unlikely Managers - Solomon N'Jie

Marathon Official, Solomon N'Jie, Finish Co-Ordinator, London Marathon.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

When did you become a manager?

I've worked on 23 marathons. For my full-time job, I held a regional European role at Microsoft, which I left in January.

What does management mean to you?

Meticulous planning, being flexible and self-critical. We start putting together the infrastructure on the Thursday so we can manage the processing of 32,000 runners. I'm responsible for 2,000 staff, many are there for the first time, and they have to be part of a structure. The processes and people working together are like a production line. If the planning and preparation is right, it's just the execution. On the day, I manage the pre-prepared plan, waiting for problems to arise. It's exception management.

Timing is the big thing - if we're not ready, we can't ask 32,000 people to wait. At peak times, 400 people a minute cross the finish line and you can't afford to have a backlog. I hand The Mall back at midnight - there's a massive operation to take apart.

What do you love/hate about it?

It's satisfying to pull off something so complex in a tight time-frame. I get frustrated if people don't work within the system.

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