Vitality through Events
The more public an event the more potential it has to create organizational momentum and add value to others.
Yesterday, I met with two leaders who bring events from planning to execution within the organization I lead. One is best at planning and day-of-event execution. The other excels at managing the process leading up to execution. Here’s what they tell me about bring events from birth to execution.
Birth to Execution:
- Determine the event.
- Establish the goal and budget.
- Identify the champion. Who’s the passionate lead-person? The emphasis is on passionate.
- Clarify and establish the date. What’s happening in the community? What other organizational events are planned? Are venues available?
- Map the event. What’s the program?
- Identify key elements that require oversight and management; marketing, budget, entertainment, and refreshments or food, for example.
- Establish deadlines.
- Reports and accountability along the way.
- Manage the event.
- Debrief. What did we learn?
From my point of view:
- Does the event align with organizational mission and vision?
- Do we have adequate human and financial resources? I always ask, who are the horses in the barn and where can they take us.
- Is the result worth the effort? I always look for efficient organizational wins.
- Encourage the team along the way.
- Congratulate the team when it’s over.
Success begins with event-champions.
The right people pull you forward.
The wrong people drag everyone down.
- Does this event align with the champions passion.
- Who suggested the event? Could they champion the event? Warning: people who suggest events may not be skilled at making them happen.
- What skills are required?
Bonus: Establish short time lines. Short timelines create urgency but not so short as to create mediocrity. Distant deadlines create lethargy. Many events die in meetings before they happen because of long timelines.
What suggestions can you offer for bringing events from birth to execution?
Insghtful and practical ~ in New England, where I live, there are a lot of community exposure potentials for Churches and Clubs (like 4H and auto related) in August and September… Traditions I have grown to love… They allow us to see one another in a dimension beyond fighting for a parking space at the mall!
Thanks Ken. Your comment suggests an important idea when it comes to events. What is the community culture? Can we piggy back on other events.
It’s been a while since I’ve been up to New England. I love this time of year up there.
…well come on up! I’ll buy Coffee, or if you’re brave “funnel cake”. 🙂
Funnel cake??? Now that’s just mean! 🙂
Thanks Dan, this is very timely for our team which
is planning a series of events. This is another sign that when you’re on the right track, the next thing you need is right there!
Thanks mentor and best wishes with your events..
I always learn so much from your posts. Excellent information in manageable bites!
I’m a homemaker with a day job and this is very helpful for planning even family events, like family re-unions, holiday dinners, birthday parties, and big barbecues. A double-duty post.
Hi simple and thanks for the good word. Thanks for pointing out the wide range of contexts where successful event planning applies!
The line that spoke to me most was ‘many events die in meetings because of a long timeline.’ Isn’t that the truth?
To make something worthwhile we need some excitement and a sense of at least some urgency.
BUT I’ve worked with teens who are notorious for coming up with ideas that take way more preparation than they ever could imagine. I’ve had to say, “Whoa” many times. One time I gave in and let them take the reins. I wrote a blog post about it. I called this post
“Don’t Ever Do This.”
We survived it. They’ll never forget it. That’s all I can say.
Hi Dauna, thanks for pointing out one of the more important points in this post. I love the sense of urgency that an impending deadline creates and hate the lethargy of a distant one.
YOur post made me laugh… thanks for the link
Good information Dan, I plan a couple of events a year and your points are right on target. Have a great Wednesday.
I agree that time plays important element in execution.Between decision and implementation, the very important factor is action. And the action is depend on leadership quality. Here leaders need to analysis their potential, position and challenges. A successful leader makes decision implemented despite organizational inertia and uncertainties. Actually implementing ideas into action is about creating culture. Leaders create culture of autonomy, accountability and reward.
Leaders can create awareness across all level and invite suggestions. They should encourage and acknowledge ideas from any person. Then they should connect them with goal describing and discussing all the facts and information.
Once done, leader can change ideas into execution. Though there might be people who still doubt about the success of the ideas, but leaders dare to implement those ideas.
Good stuff, Dan. And Real Cost is always an issue, since few people have time to waste on non-essentials and non-impactful programs these days.
I just finished a long email for a client that shared that our team building session will start at 10 and end at 1 — she knows that the game requires 3 hours. But 25+ years of delivery experience has all sorts of warning bells ringing. Yes, I may be supposed to start at 10 for this session of 200+ people and, Yes, we will have trained 20 of the management team to be active supporters of the delivery.
But all it takes is for ONE of those “senior manager presenters” to run over his or her allotted time and then ask for questions (only to have one person ask about their personal issue and totally waste the time of the other 199 people) for MY time to get chopped. AND, any time taken from the front of my simulation will be time taken directly from the debriefing of the game and the linking of play to the organizational issues of learning, collaboration, engagement and similar.
So, a long email to this senior group manager about maybe starting me at 0800 and allowing this professional presenter to kick off the event AND manage my time to the schedule.
No amount of “meeting planning time and expertise” will address the Most Senior Managers and their use/abuse of the schedule.
People can spend all their time with the logistics of stuff, but they also need to spend some time managing politics and polishing egos and focusing on the costs of not delivering on the expectations and desired outcomes.
I like it when someone rings a bell when there are 5 minutes left for some part of the event and another one when there is 1 minute left and I will provide “the hook” to pull that person off the stage if need be.
Oh, I just loved Chuckie Barris’ “The Gong Show.” If we could only do that at our meetings…
Underestimating detailed prep (and effective debrief) requirements might be one of the more common pitfalls encountered. Getting down to the nitty gritty, minute by minute elements is uncomfortable, cumbersome, time consuming and absolutely necessary. This is the down and dirty, ‘yeah but’ work that provides a foundation for success or failure. The prep includes an intricately interwoven communication tapestry that is essential for success. While you think it is the best event in the history of mankind, how do others know it is. Plan on overcommunicating to a factor x10 with every type of media, old school and social–all of which take much advance planning. One frayed piece can unravel an entire event. At the same time, then, in prep, 1st and 2nd alternative options need to be fleshed out as well.
In the debrief, even if the event is a resounding success (or not) drill down what worked, what didn’t work, what back ups did you have to try, what else would you have done if you had more time, more money, more people, more resources…document it all for future reference. Debrief needs to happen in a very timely manner before folks scatter to the four winds.