26 September 2023

Planning for failure: How to keep a team on its toes

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Glenna Fulks* says that things can always go wrong, even with the most meticulous plans but it is then that leadership and the strength of a team come to the fore.

I am the owner of a company that is all about details.

I have to meticulously manage those details through relationships with vendors and various suppliers.

As a result, I learned early on to respect the time, professional knowledge and most of all, the dignity of the people with whom I partner and work.

Whatever the challenge may be, set aside your personal beliefs, and critically look at the situation with an eye towards achieving success as a team of professionals.

It goes without saying, this is usually easier said than done.

In the planning of conferences and special events, many different suppliers cross my path.

From keynote speakers, transportation and destination management companies, the amazing and dedicated travel directors, to front desk managers and even the bar tenders who mix every concoction imaginable.

Every single one of them has knowledge that is specific and pertinent to the service they perform in order for the project to be flawlessly executed.

However, every so often, a well-planned event goes south.

It can be for no particular reason and usually due to an unforeseen circumstance that is totally beyond the ability of any single person to identify and correct — until it lands on top of you.

When the unexpected happens and your team is affected, your strength as a leader is crucial.

The team will watch and gauge your reaction when this happens.

The best option is to be completely and wholly transparent.

This is the time to put all the cards on the table, face up, so that everyone is aware of what is transpiring.

Without any delay, come together as a cohesive group, draw on people’s experiences and backgrounds, and as a combined unit quickly and efficiently establish a strategic plan.

This is an environment that will see you over any hurdle and through any situation because you have created a culture within the team based on honesty, respect and trust.

When the dust has settled, and the situation rectified, it will have been your cumulative professional integrity that carries the day.

After all these years, I have had very few circumstances where a situation has threatened to derail all of the careful planning and endless hours of preparation.

By working with seasoned professionals who exhibit the utmost pride in their roles and responsibilities, I am proud of the successes we have enjoyed together.

When you take the high road, it requires a little extra work and effort, and often the road isn’t too crowded.

However, all of that just means you have raised your standards, set yourself above the average, and willingly gone the distance.

The high road may not be the easiest or most popular, but it is always the best road.

* Glenna Fulks is a partner in Kite Meeting Management dealing with sponsorship campaigns, event marketing and the use of social media and technology in strategic planning. She can be contacted at kitemeetings.com

This article first appeared at LinkedIn.

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