Last week I met someone who thinks like me. Everything he said resonated with my approach to business, my approach to events and my approach to my own work.
He too prioritises the people in everything – the attendee experience, the support for staff, the collaboration with partners. Without these invaluable contributors, events just don’t happen. For him, his career and business is built on professional recognition by clients, by peers, by staff and, like me, he holds to the fact that an event manager is only as good as their last event.
It was also reassuring to hear that things go wrong on (almost) all of his events too. I have been banging on about this for as long as I can remember and I believe that our performance as event managers is entirely based on how we deal with issues and problems. We can only increase our capacity and ability to deal with those issues and problems if we plan properly to a high level of detail so we are prepared for it.
This person is Mike Richmond from Richmond Event Management and is another role model to add to my collection!
The most beneficial part of talking to Mike was realising that I am not alone in recognising the personal challenge that managing large scale public events presents. As he pointed out, everyone is judge and jury and everyone will judge, challenge and question you, your decisions, your ability, your professionalism etc etc. There is no getting away from this so the greatest skill we can develop is to balance taking valuable perspectives on board with letting individual judgments pass by.
But I am all about passion and commitment and working heart and soul in a project so when these judgments come flooding in, I find it so difficult to balance and not take it to heart. It’s even more difficult to support my team in balancing this too. I (and we as an industry) ask so much of our teams in getting involved completely in projects and whilst this generates great commitment and motivation for the team, it means that we have to enable those team members to deal with criticism and I believe that this needs to start from within the company with performance management across the whole team, including leaders. Not an easy ask but I (and I think Mike would agree.) think it’s vital for the ongoing development of our industry and supporting new talent.
Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky Events