What would you do if you knew you would fail?
Seth Godin posed this question at the EA Masters. It reminded me of the dilemma we faced when deciding what to do with the event when the pandemic hit and we went into lockdown. In simple terms there were four options:
1. Cancel the event and resurrect in 2021
2. Carry on with preparation for a physical event and hope that by October we could deliver it
3. Change to a zoom type webinar, (in other words a much watered down affair)
4. Go for it. Make the event the biggest and best by every measurement
All four had implications and consequences. So we did an exercise called OCDC that might be helpful for you to use in moments of uncertainty.
The first thing we did was to identify the options – there were some variations but in essence there were these four.
The next step was to work out the consequences, the pluses and minuses for each – this comes straight from my Highly Effective Marketing Plan process.
Then we identified the latest possible date to make a decision – in this situation it was June 8th, four months before the event.
The primary value that we kept as our compass to guide our process was to repeatedly ask, “what’s the right thing to do?”
By June 8th we decided that there were too many unknowns to be certain we could run a large scale physical event. That’s easy to say now, but at that time several other event organisers were still saying “we’ll be there as usual” indeed, not long after we had made our decision for option 4, the government announced, (with very little detailed information), that events could reopen on 6th October, two days before our scheduled date.
This was where we applied our final step in the process – decide and fully commit to the decision. I admit that the government announcement did cause me to doubt the decision but only momentarily. That’s because, when we went all in, we determined that even if physical events were allowed we would still stick with the virtual format.
This commitment to the decision then allowed us to plan properly and as fully as we could – had we still kept option 1 on the table as well my belief is that we would not have delivered to the extent we did. We would have been distracted, remained hopeful, only given a portion of ourselves.
We determined that the right thing was to continue our two decades work of rewarding the best agents and providing an event where they can celebrate their success and learn how to improve further via a combination of world class speakers and industry leading suppliers.
Judging by the feedback we succeeded. However, what would have happened if we had failed as indeed we might have? We determined that would be a better scenario than to just give up and roll over. We adopted the mindset of the Japanese samurai who practised a concept of dying before going into battle. By accepting death in advance there was unconditional commitment to the fight. Luckily we didn’t have to go quite that far, but by accepting that failure was better than not trying, it allowed us to give our all – and as I write this 24 hours after the event I know that we did give everything and what that feels like.
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