We’ve all made mistakes. Some small. Others…well biggies…with consequences! So, it goes without saying that event planners, whilst learning their craft, will at some point get something wrong. Let’s face it events are complex entities in which there are innumerable ways in which you could get it wrong. So, is there a way to turn an event planning mistake into a positive? Sounds counter intuitive I know.
The informed ‘making a mistake thinking’ suggests the following:
In the vast majority of events thankfully it’s not fatal. The caveat being that in the world of large public events: mistakes made have proved fatal.
Yep I have made a mistake. So, tell whoever you need to…NOW. And if it’s a long walk to their ‘desk’ see if you can come up with some solutions. I suggest you do this anyway as problem solving is part of our daily lives. I strongly believe it’s much better to fess up and share a problem.
It’s all my fault
Yes, in reality it might be. It’s time to get over it and not focus on the mistake, our natural default position. Rather now is the time to hone in on what you can learn from it. Nobody sets out to make mistake and when it happens it can knock your confidence, be embarrassing and lead to a whole host of emotional turmoil. You now need to turn a bad situation on its head: unpick what happened and work out what lessons you can learn and share them.
Learn from it and don’t do it again
I really like the idea that organisations should encourage individuals to share their mistakes with their colleagues and so turn them into a lesson to all! It is of course highly likely that your current way of working has in fact been informed by past mistakes…all designed to make your current event planning processes better and more efficient.
Clearly if you want to be a market leader pushing back the event boundaries then you are not going to be afraid to make the odd mistake. In these cases, the organisations in question are quick to stop things that aren’t working and learn ‘fast’: always seeking to fail quickly and cheaply.
My final thoughts around mistakes is you must try to forget about them and let them go. Easy to say I know: harder to do in practice. As they say tomorrow is another day so don’t let yesterday’s ‘oops’ take up too much of today’s time. The slightly trickier bit in my experience is for managers and colleagues to resist the urge to bring up your mistake in public conversation…even in jest. Everyone needs to let it go. The reality of the events world will be that the next decision (the next opportunity to get something right) will already be upon you.
With time and practice you’ll start to understand the situations where mistakes are more likely to happen and learn to deal with them: crucially using yours and other people’s past event experiences.
If like me you have been around a while in the events world then my mistakes need to be NEW ones and yes, an opportunity to learn and share my thoughts. As I reflect on these incidences certain common mitigating factors routinely appear and they are poor training or supervision and a lack of continuous urgency and thorough questioning.
Got a whooper to tell? Anonymously of course or use the third party.
I run an event management training and consultancy company (The Event Expert) delivering In-house and On-Line event management training courses and event consultancy services to accidental, occasional and professional event managers. My objective is to give them the confidence and skills to design, plan, promote and deliver their own successful and rewarding events.
My courses are based on 20+ years of practical event management experience. I practice what I preach!
My clients come from the world of business, education, sport, the public and charity sector, training companies, tourism, creative agencies, universities and festivals.
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