organization

Escaping the Curse of The Sticky Note Man

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postitman 2Anyone that has planned an event can certainly relate to the overwhelming feeling of being covered in sticky notes with all your to-do’s. In fact, most of us can relate to that feeling in our everyday lives, let alone while planning an event. It’s awful to feel the loss of control as your to-do’s pile up faster than you can knock things off your list. The resulting impact is often a form of paralysis from not knowing where to start, and then nothing (important) gets done.

As event planners, we have the added responsibility of the safety and well-being of hundreds – or perhaps thousands – of participants showing up on race day. Ensuring nothing slips through the cracks not only becomes critical to the success of the event, but for the positive experience of the participants as well.

Here are three tips to regain control of your event (and quite possibly your sanity):

1. Stop the madness

I mean it. Stop giving yourself and your team brain damage. I can’t tell you how often I see (and experience!) organizations spinning themselves into a complete whirlwind between back-and-forth emails on a particular topic (I think I was once on an email string of 200+ emails on how we were going to ship potato chips from the sponsor), chasing unneeded to-do’s, or calling meetings that are a complete waste of time. Someone needs to call a ‘Time Out!’ and reestablish parameters for how the organization is going to communicate and make decisions going forward.

2. Get back to the basics

Focus on the important stuff. When planning an event, we are continually trying to bridge the gap between our vision and reality. All events start out as a vision, but what’s reality is what we can actually pull off given our limited resources (i.e. time, money, etc.). You can’t have reality without the vision, but I can tell you from experience that most of our time is wasted on a vision that never fully comes to fruition. Be careful not to put yourself, your team, and your event at risk by forgetting what’s really important come race day. Your most basic need is to make sure your participants can navigate your course safely without getting lost. Period. The beer garden, the live music, and the t-shirt design are all important, but not absolutely critical. The registration process, the course itself, timing & results, your medical program (and any other emergency/contingency plans), on the other hand, are all very important. A helpful exercise can be thinking through your participant experience from the moment they register online and participate in your event, through to checking their results.

3. Develop your work plan

Last, but not least, now that you’ve stopped the madness and are focused on what’s important, take the time to develop your work plan. Who’s doing what and when? This is your recipe, your timeline, and your owner’s manual to pull off your event. Once you have this plan in place everything becomes more mechanical. You and your team are either getting it done or you’re not – it’s all right there in front of you. Now it’s about execution and not a guessing game. The goal is to get to the point where every week you are conducting rapid-fire team meetings going through the plan and addressing anything that might fall behind schedule.

This is all easier said than done, but that’s why we are here. RaceHQ is part of your team and we are here to save you time while keeping you organized and on track. Our templates and milestones get you started, and our unlimited support is there every step of the way. Let us know how we can help. We would love to talk through your plan with you or conduct remote implementation meetings with your team. It’s time to toss out the sticky notes once and for all.

What frustrates you when planning your events? How do you stay in control of your event (and your sanity)? Share your tips with us below.

-Anton Villatoro, President & Co-Founder, RaceHQ