A client had just completed managing a thousand person global technology gathering and we were conducting the post-learning.
Before the event, her strongest team had been the planners. Granular she called them. Material was ordered and inventoried, prepackaged and pre-staged.
As the event started, the plan blew up, and another team came to the front. I call it the maitre d’ function, “How can I help?” and ‘Here’s what you can do...” A dizzying flow of problems and requests, not relying on planning or inventory to fix the problems.
In hindsight, the plan took care of most of the transactions, the maitre d’s took over when the plan was not enough.
The feedback was that the attendees had a best ever five day party, the customer had a blowout success.
Our planning team had major complaints about the maitre ‘d team ignoring their plan. They wanted to know, what was appropriate punishment?
The maitre d’ team didn’t bother coming to the meeting. Their job was done.
Later I complimented the client on keeping a sunny disposition through the event and through an emotional review meeting.
She said, “I learned a long time ago not to be concerned about attaining perfection. I am very concerned about maintaining excellence, and I did that when I was recruiting the teams for the event. When things get tense, I remind myself that now is not the time to be the leader.”
How do you make the most of whatever you’ve got?