A few months ago, I had this idea to have a cool Christmas Party. Now, you have to realize, at the time I was thinking back yard BBQ, friends, family, team members and just a good 'ol backyard get together. Its amazing what happens when you put your goals out there, what comes back is not always was you expect!
I have been blessed with an incredible team of people in our business that are super talented and have incredible hearts for people. I should have known that tossing out an idea to have a Christmas Party would have turned into something far bigger and better than my mind could have created, but isn't that how life normally is?
What is my biggest takeaway from this experience, 'Go with the Flow'. Enjoy the process, its the whole point of why we live. To experience the journey and have fun in the process. The destination will always get here and most likely you won't be completely satisfied with the results (we have such high standards), but the journey will be over, people will go home and all you will be left with is the memories of the journey...so go with the flow, enjoy it and embrace the ebbs and flows of it all.
So if you want to know the story, its a cool one.
We started with serious discussion about what kind of party to have, and it went from a small back yard to looking for a venue. From lets cook some ribs, to I know a chef and he's amazing! Jeans and boots to cocktail party and finally, lets make it a benefit dinner and donate a bunch of gifts for kids in need! Wow, this party got real. And with all the ideas, meant a lot of planning to pull this off. How we did it was the coolest part of it all. I'll share how we did it!
What I envisioned:
Not there is anything wrong with this at all..this is actually where I enjoy myself the most.
But I will say, a guys perspective and a women perspective on a business Christmas Party is way different!
Here is what we ended up with:
A beautiful facility with a full kitchen, back patio with walls that open up and brings the party outside, professional chef preparing an incredible meal, elegant setting, full dinner settings, Christmas decorations, cake, drinks, bartenders, banners, websites, registration lists, promo videos....phew. I am really surprised this all even happened! But it did...here is how.
So once the party stepped up a notch, I knew we were going to need some help and started organizing some of the top leaders in our team together on the phone. I simply just scheduled an important meeting using the app Zoom (its a video conferencing app that is easy and very user friendly, here's an easy link).
Once that first meeting took place, we had an idea of where we were going and started asking for volunteers to help check off the things that needed to get done.
So if you want to host an event, do this:
1. Establish what it is that you actually want to accomplish.
- if you don't know where you are going, there is a for sure chance you won't end up there. Organizing anything first starts with setting a goal. So set the goal, get it written down. Then move forward.
2. Rally the troops.
- ask some people to come together. Organize a gathering, either virtually or in person. Cast the vision of what it is the you want to do and ask who would be interested in joining in to help accomplish it. Those that say that they want to help, write their names down and immediately start talking about what ideas they would like to toss into the mix. By offering the opportunity for others to make suggestions creates buy in. When people feel like their ideas and opinions matter, they naturally become more involved.
3. Break it down.
- Take the ideas, the tasks, the end goal and break the event down. It took us a couple meeting on the Zoom conference to finally complete this list, it does take some time, but we broke down the things that needed to be done and who would be willing and able to help with those tasks. Then we establish a deadline for certain tasks and who needed help making their deadlines. It is so cool to see a group of people come together and make things happen. Managing the atmosphere is actually the easy part, but its a skill many people dont know how to do. That is why Managers are normally paid more than the people doing the work, its a skill and yes you can learn how if you don't feel you know how.
- What ever needs to be done to accomplish the task, face it head on. If a problem arrises, attack it. Talk about the tough stuff. Anything that arrises is just a problem that is looking for a solution. Nothing more. I see great people, fail because they allow a simple problem to muster and it turns into a snowball that becomes far worse than the original issue. Problems are there for a reason. A problem is simply a message letting you know that you didn't plan well enough. Something came up that you didn't forecast would come up, if you had, the problem wouldn't exist. So take it as a leader, look at it as an opportunity to make your process better and create a better result!
- Keep a good list. This is one of my 'not so good' areas. I make a ton of notes and have notepads all over my desks, the problem is in the organizing of my notes...something I know is problem that I am really getting better at! But, simply, just keep a good list.
- Who is assigned to what? What is their deadline to accomplish the task? Who is helping them? And do they need anything to help them get it done?
5. Review and Adjust...Smile.
- You will review and adjusts your process many times. The best and most highly influential leaders in the world never allow people to see that the problem is too great for them to handle. Smile. No matter the issue. Attack problems with patience and with a calmness that keeps others calm. Problems will arise, guaranteed. You will have to make adjustments, not doubt! Anytime you deal with humans, feeling are present, emotions run high and circumstance arise that you couldn't ever have avoided or forecasted...honestly, something you will just laugh at cause of how ridiculous things are in the moment and how the enemy is really just trying to get at you...and thats the attitude that wins. Be prepared for change, be prepared to adjust, when its time, attack head on and smile all the way through!
6. Be an Encourager.
- No one likes negative people. As a matter of fact, the more people grow personally, the more people learn how much of a positive attitude is a choice that we have to work on daily, the more obvious and honestly, annoying negative people become. Everyone has the same chance to be positive, grow, read and become a better person than they were yesterday. If you are one of those people, realize other people are watching you and waiting for you to be different. Start today.
- For you leaders of the bunch, be a good encourager. Say thank you. Not just at the end of the process, but along the road too. People like to know what they are doing matters and is making a difference. Don't forget this. As a good leader, you don't forget this. You keep it on the forefront of your mind. Meaning, that you have to think about this stuff in the moment...so yes that means you have to learn something new and take the time to be diligent with what you know is important. As a leader this is just part of the job description. Learn it or don't have people follow you.
- Enjoy the end! Don't get bogged down with problems, but be prepared to work. Unfortunately, as a leader..you probably won't get to enjoy the celebration the same way everyone else will, but you will reap the most benefit. Always keep that in mind, no matter the stress during the celebration or event!
8. Say thank you again.
- Appreciate those that helped make it all happen. Do it publicly. Do it privately. I believe you can say thank you too many times before it becomes overdone and fake...but as long as you are genuine and take the time to say thank you...people want to hear it!
- A good tip I heard years ago that has stuck with me is, 'Praise in Public, Ridicule in Private'.
We really planned a great event and it turned out so amazing for all involved. Not only did we end up having an incredible dinner by an fabulous chef who prepared an amazingly yummy dinner for all that attended. We also had everyone that attended bring a gift for a child! We coordinated with a local church organization and it just so happened they were having a huge charity event the next morning where hundreds of kids in need would be present! God will provide and do some really cool things to line up the right things as long as you break it down and execute. Cool things always happen!!!
So thank you to all the Illuminate family that volunteered, helped out and stepped up to lead and made this event amazing! Thank you to all the attendees that brought gifts and made Christmas for some kids a better one! And thank you to the core leaders that spent so much time planning and working through the issues and processes!
It wasn't what I had in mind, but its what you guys did and I really loved your idea...our Christmas Express turned out to be an incredible event! So thank you.
Want to see the video of the event! Check it out:
And a Special thanks to:
My wife Jaclyn, Linda D, Chris & Tarah, Gina, Cindy, John and Rita, Trent and Brandi, Linda and Shawn, James and Kelly, Debbie, Tonia, Harry and Christine, Curtis Wolfe and Sam Wolfe.
This event was only an event because of you guys!
Additional Tips: Web design, registration tips, FREE Text Reminder APP (this is awesome to have to remind people via text...for free!!!) Flyer design...all these things and more are needed to make an event look magical on a show string budget! Leave me a comment if you have quesitons or click the 'Chat With Me' in the bottom right and I'll be glad to share my secrets and tips!