Top Tips for Problem Solving

Top Tips – Problem Solving for Event Managers in a Covid World

If there is anything that anyone has learned this year, it’s the need to problem solve and act rather than react. Advancing our Virtual plans was one of these actions.

As experienced Event Managers we constantly look at the worst case scenarios in every aspect of a plan and how we can avoid these; while preparing for what we do in these instances.

Event Managers work incredibly well under pressure, it’s a job proven to be one of the most stressful in the world. However, we do everything and make every endeavour to avoid these stresses, making the plans soundproof, bulletproof, shatterproof… Just all the proofs, while also implementing back-up plans and fail-safes throughout.

Before we could see the impact of Covid-19 in this country we acted to negotiate unassailable force majeures and contracts with suppliers that protected our clients as much as possible. Although no one could have foreseen the effects on the Events industry, it is our job to plan for the worst possible outcomes.

In our top tips this week we have noted the key topics to consider as Event Managers and how we go about problem solving.

  1. Asking the right questions. How you look for answers will determine how you overcome your challenges. This means defining your question before looking for the solution. It means involving your whole team in the conversation, having people from different backgrounds and experiences to bounce off. The more information you have the more likely you are to get to the answer.
  2. Embrace the bizarre. Now is not the time to be “stuck in your ways” – looking for solutions where you wouldn’t expect and changing your perspective opens you up to inspiration and experience. Being versatile in your approach is the key to growing and learning. Just look what happened to the Blockbuster stores – they stood still where their competitors embraced the online avenues.
  3. Use a pre-mortem. Imagine a hypothetical future where everything has gone wrong, then work backwards to determine the factors and issues which lead to this failure. This is also beneficial to look at what went right. From this, you can realise how you bring about the good and how you can plan for the possible demise of a plan.

These points may seem obvious from the outset, but implementing them is a different task, taking the time to go through these is a vital investment in a thorough strategy that needs to be prioritised. Time is valuable and other tasks get in the way but action is better than reaction and sets aside the Netflix’s from the Blockbuster’s, and the Toys R Us’s from the Amazon’s (interesting Forbes article: here).

How did we act on the COVID crisis..

Sometimes a positive exception already exists; the ability to continue with events seemed to disappear in March, but our theme for 2020 was sustainability and we looked back at all of the virtual solutions we had been partnering with when researching alternatives to live conferences. The airmiles associated and wastages caused vs Corporate Social Responsibility that our clients wanted to value more didn’t equate, and so looking at hybrid and virtual solutions was a great alternative. We realised you can have the same valuable, interactive, networking experience on a virtual platform as a live event. It just takes a bit of creativity and some good old proverbial elbow grease.

Covid has forced a change of perspective, it can be easy to throw around ideas to solve a problem but benefiting all stakeholders with this solution is another situation. This creativity is combining existing elements to create something else entirely, and not comparing oneself to others reactions because their way is not always the best way, and every situation is unique, along with the people involved.

For more on how we have adapted and helped our clients create their conferences online, check out our MD Malcolm Wallaces blog posts, “The Covid Series”.