In the last month or so we have had 4 meetings.. intense ones.. ideas exchanged, cross arguments, agreement, Voila! The plan for implementation was well under way in the third week. Our team was excited and things were looking under control but (as you read this word “but” you know something not so good is coming up – you’re right – read on) it only takes a couple of things to go wrong for the tumble to begin! This is how it all began:
- A couple of core members not available around the event month made us short on retargets.
- Another event which we were collaborating changed dates which now clashed with ours; since that was a larger one and we wanted to support it for a cause we had to plan on moving our event date, that didn’t chime well with some of the core planners and things were on the tumble.
- The other dates we were looking for were preferable to other organizers also it seems, all the event halls (within our budget) were booked for the next 4 weeks.
The group was in turmoil and the apprehensiveness and anxiety was visible which marred all efforts to proceed confidently.
Let’s pause here and have a look at what it truly takes to see a project to success – the six essential steps:
- Team work
- Mission and Vision
- A specific, practical time-bound goal / goals
- Action to – launch, drive and sustain
Sure enough you might have done it all in the past, but with this recent experience I have added one more item to the list – “Throw it around and see it grow”.
We were waiting for a perfect launch of the event, a venue to accommodate all, grand elaborate program, a perfect date which does not clash with other community events, and of course all material work which needed some capital. And none of this was falling in place, the proposed event dates were sort of “taken” by other major events which would take away our targeted crowd and so the venue we wanted was not available. Some of those that were available were way too expensive and since we were tied to a limited budget the other essential key “must haves” was not conducive anymore.
I was kind of guessing it and it happened.. on one evening the events team emailed the core group that they were calling off the event – it was just not doable with limited retargets, funds and all the things they wanted to carry on with – the limitations made the event execution unachievable.
It was a letdown for sure since we had put in a few months of efforts in planning and were looking forward to it. My suggestion didn’t go down well with all but it stuck positively to one core member who had previously also showed tremendous leadership skills – the idea was to first shun the notion of being PERFECT. Being perfect is a goal alright but don’t make it the final goal during the event launch – the idea was to throw the idea to the community and see it grow. We didn’t have a plan B – we could make it along the way. It was a risk but with time at our hand I wanted us to go forward with it. And are we glad we did exactly that.
Some highlights on what happened next:
- The community loved the idea – they forwarded various other venue locations which we had not thought of before and we were able to get a decent deal on a great location. – Money saved, friends made.
- We were contacted by many who wanted to volunteer for this event and those in future. There were quite a few who were ready to direct related events for the program. – just great, we were now no more short on retargets and found some great talent we can use for future as well.
- We had never called for any sponsorship but there were a few local business groups who saw our Email and offered sponsorships – Who would not love that!
So all in all things began to fall in place by “itself” our intervention was merely to send it out to the world and see how it goes on from there.
If I had waited for the last minute to get everything in place and in perfect order perhaps this event would never had been possible, just letting it grow by word of mouth and volunteer help we were able to pull it through to a success we were so apprehensive of when things began to fall apart. Some of the lessons I take back from this experience:
- It is so important to have a strong network of think-alikes and also to rinse the idea many times over before it stands out to most in the group.
- It is not always necessary to have a plan B, at times plan Bs shape out of nowhere or with time as the idea rubs on others and the information exchange deepens.
- The 7th item to the above list (Throw the idea around and see it grow) works out great when given time for it to grow and evolve, don’t put all your energy in planning, preparation, and dreaming of success, start things moving before they lose their kick. Move from “I Think, I Dream, I Wish” to “I Think, I Plan, I Launch”.
- Don’t always be on the lookout for leaders, even the majority – the followers have some great ideas which they can share with you – it’s a different matter that they cannot do it themselves but smaller contributions build larger events.
- There will be people who will drag you or your efforts down, it is most important to steer tactfully away from them and move on where you find support and encouragement.
- At times, just go with the flow or follow my favorite saying “Go as far as you can see, when you get there – you will see further.”