As I relayed in my earlier blog post, sometimes leaders you work with on a proposed event will have their own vision in mind, or a portion of it that differs from your intended plan. It’s important to listen to their vision as well as articulate your own. In most cases, the final design will fall somewhere in between the two options, and quite often you can incorporate something you hadn’t even considered because of your leader’s unique perspective.
So, how do you get your ideas to blossom in the mind of leaders and decision-makers who may see your plan differently? I’m including 5 quick tips that I’ve used successfully to navigate that potential pitfall, keeping the line taunt and the vision laser-focused, while also being flexible and working as a team.
- ACTIVELY LISTEN – How many times have you had your boss, your spouse or significant other, or even a client state their position on an issue, question, idea, or process, and when they fully convey their thoughts, you realize you didn’t really hear what they’ve said? Oftentimes, we are all guilty of formulating our response while the other party is making their point. Don’t do that! Listen actively…write down key points they are making, and jot down thoughts you’d like them to elaborate upon. You’ll be better prepared to respond intelligently and they’ll come away knowing you were present in the conversation.
- RECRUIT – The best way to insure your event is well-received in the office and that participation exceeds your expectations is to recruit leaders to be a part of the event itself. In 2016, I coordinated an office version of Lip Sync Battle. To raise awareness of the event, I simply asked a number of individuals, including leaders, to record a short video telling me what their favorite song of all time was, and then I strung them together as a teaser for the game itself. The kicker in that regard is I was also able to include our New York-based CEO’s favorite song as well, which elevated the status of the game for the rest of the office. I’ve also had leaders participating in the games we’ve held, working them in as an advantage to other players if they finish before the leadership team.
- PLOTTING PLAN B – Situations sometimes present themselves where you conceive of an idea that you feel is so perfect for your event, and you move full steam ahead to implement it, only to realize that company policies preclude you moving forward. For example, on that very first version of “The Amazing Race” we put together in 2011, the original finale involved finishing on the roof of our building. I always joked about rappelling off the roof, which I rightfully assumed wouldn’t work out, but thought having the finish line on the roof would be a sure thing. After sketching it out fully, I discovered that OSHA would forbid such an act at our workplace, as the outer walls were too low and not safe for rank and file employees to be near. Undeterred, I searched out an alternative, which became a room that was within another room that everyone’s badges could access, but appeared on no map of our building. The finale of the race had a urgency with the players that was extremely satisfying, and although it wasn’t rappelling, it was a great finish nonetheless.
- OVERCOMING RESISTANCE – Leaders deal with a multitude of responsibilities in their day-to-day roles as decision makers, and to be blunt, a corporate event shouldn’t be on the top of their list of to do’s. At the same time, that same event can we a powerful retention tool to promote a fun, engaging workplace and shouldn’t be overlooked. Think of overcoming resistance as creating building blocks of trust with leadership. Start out slow and build your reputation for responsible requests and follow through on any promises you make. My most outlandish granted requests include alligators, a full-grown boa constrictor, live horses, taking over major sections of our building, and fire. All because I was prepared to address resistance with a track record of responsibility.
- THE TEN THOUSAND FOOT LEVEL – Present your overall plan (highlights only) in a scheduled meeting to the individual who gives thumbs up or down to company events. PowerPoint is a great tool to create a professional presentation to “sell” the concept and move forward with your plan. My document hits on costs, charities who will benefit, time requirements, potential impact on the company’s reputation (good or bad), review of participation numbers from prior years, and anything else that is unique to this specific event.
What other tips do you have that aren’t included in my list? Feel free to leave them in the comments section on today’s blog entry. As always, thank you much for your interest in MotEVENTure! Until next time…reel them in!
PS – Our CEO’s favorite song? “Don’t Let The Sun (Go Down on Me)” by Elton John