“Move Slowly and Mend Things”: Sage Advice for Corporate Event Companies?

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“Move Slowly and Mend Things”: Sage Advice for Corporate Event Companies?

Does June put you in the frame of mind to stop and reflect? It always does that to me—thanks to all the graduation ceremonies.

Those of you who know me well will recall that I started Wilsonwest to give me the flexibility to spend as much time as possible with my family. I was nine months pregnant at the time, and so I like to say that Wilsonwest is exactly as old as my son Charlie.

DSC_1249 - Version 2Ever since I can remember, 2013 has loomed on the horizon as a year of milestones. This is the year Charlie turns 21. And earlier this month, my youngest child, Anne (Annie) Wilson, graduated from Lick Wilmerding High School in San Francisco.

The graduation ceremony was held at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. As with most gatherings of this nature, all of us in attendance had the opportunity to listen to a lineup of inspiring speakers, both student and adult.

large_photo198325_2171019_943Each of the speakers reflected Lick Wilmerding’s mission to be a “Private School with a Public Purpose.” But the speech that really grabbed my attention was delivered by the student-elected faculty member, Dr. Rebecca Hong. In fact, as she spoke, I scribbled one of her most powerful phrases on my program:

Move slowly and mend things.

Let me explain.

Dr. Hong mentioned that here in the Silicon Valley, there’s a popular mantra: “Move Fast and Break Things.” We all feel the pressure to keep innovating, producing, and disrupting the way things have always worked. If you’re not running at breakneck speed, you might as well be standing still—or so the thinking goes.

But in spite of the productivity benefits of moving so quickly, Dr. Hong believes there are also drawbacks. As she put it, “What, or who, might we miss or pass by as we zoom along?”

So she advises that we slow down periodically and reflect on the possible unintended consequences—the “collateral impact”—of our actions.

I found myself nodding and thinking about how this can apply to the event management business.

When we’re racing to take advantage of an opportunity, do we always stop to review the finer points of a contract? Do we consider how our tactics will affect event attendees and planners? Do we even realize when we’ve spent most of a meeting monitoring our iPhone rather than conversing with our colleagues?

These nuances become easy to ignore when we’re in a hurry to become the first, the biggest, and the best. And as the economy begins to pick up again, the pressure to “move fast” is intensifying.

But like Dr. Hong, I believe there can be a balance. Sure, we can and should move fast at the macro level by working efficiently to meet tight deadlines. But at the micro level, careful attention to detail and a personal approach are the lifeblood of strategic event planning—and they always will be.

As Dr. Hong put it:

“It is the difficult things in life that require you to move slowly and more deliberately, and to trust others because you must.”

My heartfelt thanks go to Dr. Hong for this opportunity to reflect on the need to keep improving in ways that really count.

If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, I highly recommend you watch the entire speech. And I hope you’ll return often to this blog to share in my reflections drawn from 20 years of event planning in San Francisco. Let’s keep learning together. 

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