Management is a Lifestyle

I was in the gym today having a casual discussion with a friend about some common interest in entertainment. The discussion centered around  a scenario that some people find it difficult to manage especially when the new manager was the buddy of the same people he is managing just a week ago.

The problem the new manager has is effecting the transition. from being a member of the team to now being a leader of the team. That transition comes with a lot of sacrifice that he is not ready to give up. If you read all the management books in the world they will all tell you about the pros and cons of this scenario. It is well documented. But what the books or professors fail to tell the student is that management is a lifestyle. Some people may disagree but when you think about it look at all the leaders in the world, past and present and see what is the common trait in all of them. The answer – A lifestyle.

The leader or manager can party with the team, they can have a drink with the boys. They  can go shopping with the girls. It is encouraged. What is not allowed is the leader cannot be one of them. He , and I am using the collective HE,  has to know that he is the leader so whilst he can go shopping or drinking he cannot get drunk. He cannot spend all his money and be broke. He has to be sober and sane enough to say to the team enough is enough, time to go and go he must. This is the lifestyle i am talking about. It is showing your team how disciplined you are despite the distractions of the drinking , partying and shopping.

To have discipline is to create a lifestyle of strong mental fortitude. A lifestyle that will always come to manifest itself when the team is looking at you. They are looking to you for direction. If your lifestyle is one of party, wild abandonment and carefree then you are not managing the team. You are merely one of the boys and the team will look for a leader who has a lifestyle that they can emulate and follow. A leader cannot hide.

So this is my first blog for the website. Management is a lifestyle. I invite you to comment on this topic.

Insider’s Tip

I recently participated in an open discussion on the topic of how do you direct the natural need of persons attending a meeting or convention to sit at the back of the room leaving the front seats empty. My response was :

“For me people will instinctively want to go to the back as it is the place where they feel most
comfortable. It’s like they are hiding in an open box hoping not to be seen. I never try to reinvent the wheel on this one. Use lighting to your benefit and only light the area of seating as the audience comes in. Yes have your staff there and as the room fills the lights go up. Using only one door for entrance also helps to ‘herd’ the attendees 
in and as the room fills close that door and use the rear door to fill the seats to the rear. As a Wow moment at some point in the conference offer the first row of  persons a small gift for being the first attendees. It encourages them. It could be anything but it must be small and inexpensive. It really is all about the acknowledgement rather than the gift.”

People will be people and nobody wants to sit at the front,  maybe an exception or two but most tend not to want the spotlight. Tips- set your room up so there are no back seats. Put the stage in the center and have the seats flow around the stage. It gives the speaker the opportunity to be closer to the audience, it is good theater in the round and it makes everyone feels equal , remember Arthur’s round table. Same concept. Always make your audience feel comfortable. That is the start to a successful meeting without the first word being spoken.

I invite you to share your thoughts or ideas on this topic.

The Best Committee- the committee of Sleep

I get inspirational quotes daily and the one I received today was this. “It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.”– John Steinbeck

When I read the quote I smiled and said to myself ..opps my secret has come out . I have the same committee and they are the best committee that I have ever worked with. In general I hate committees. It’s a bunch of people who gives an excuse for working on a project and really the only person that works is the one with the idea . Committees are a waste of time especially if consisted of a lot of ‘talkers’ and not ‘doers’.

So I tackle my problems alone and especially when they are entertainment related I look at all the problems that will come up for the event and just let it flow. This usually happens when you have special events and you check the history of the  events and you need to plan a similar event for the current year. My rule of thumb is never to repeat myself so I always put myself under due stress of coming up with new ideas to an event that I did just 12 months earlier. But I want  something new-like a transfusion of new blood to give the event new life , after all its a new year. So I call my committee for a meeting and go to sleep.  I keep thinking about it but I turn it over to my committee of sleep to take care of the details. And wouldn’t you know it the next day the problems just seem to automatically disappear and I start to flow.

My committee has never disappointed me as it always delivers. Somehow the committee tackles all the problems and delivers a step by step analysis of how to tackle these circumstances. That is my secret to the many events that I have planned that others wonder how did I come up with that idea. Its simple – my secret is my committee, the committee of sleep. The only committee that does what it says and get the job done.

How about you. Do you have a similar committee? Would love to hear your opinion.

IWFS – My viewpoint

I attended the much talked about Island of the World Fashion show the week it was in town at the Sheraton Ballroom. As a rule I decided not to attend anymore fashion shows at least in the Caribbean. Why you might ask? Well why spend money to see someone’s idea of fashion paraded on stage by someone who thinks they are a model in someone’s lame idea of a show? But as fate would have it I broke my rule and attended. There were 2 prices $40 and $75 VIP. I asked the young woman what’s the difference?  VIP gives you a closer seat to the run way and other nice things. So silly me I bought the VIP ticket and  it was there that the drama began!

1. Show to start at 8pm but at 8pm doors were not open as yet.
2. $75 did not give you a complimentary drink. Had to purchase at the bar.
3. At 8:20pm when they decided to open the door to seat VIP ticket holders were in the same entrance line as the $40. No separate entrance.
4. Once inside you got your dog collar and was ‘escorted’ to  your seat. But the only difference in the $75 seat and the $40 seat was the VIP was seated on Resin Chiavari chairs   the others were on banquet chairs…Whoopie !!

I realized that the ‘producers’ first problem was a simple thing always overlooked known as the Front of House management.  The show actually started at 8:40pm and realizing that the coveted VIP seats were not filled the producer of the show invited the $40 persons to sit in the $75 section. i guess to FILL the seats! Problem number 2 –  they just devalued the most important seat in the house by offering freebies to the masses. Under normal crowd rules and mass objection to that move a riot could have started.

The stage was simple, left and  right LCD projection screens with a horribly drapery center stage and around the room. So much for production value. Good lighting and music however filed the room.

The dancers opened the show with much pizzas and costumes that could have been better presented and set the tone of the show with color and energy but alas the fashions were far from the imagery of the dancers and you felt like you were watching a fall collection at NY fashion week.

Our Caribbean designers suffer not from ideas or creativity but from access to quality fabric to produce their garments. It was depressing to see model after model parading monochromatic colors after colors – black, brown, beige, straw, leather, white, black did i say Black already?You get the picture. Most ideas were very good. They just lacked the finish to inspire you to go and buy!

The male fashions left much to be desired. Again nothing designed for the guys to wear so they were restricted to underwear most of the time. Again nothing for you to go out and buy the next day or right after the show. Even the women got bored after seeing the guys in underwear again and again and again! One good aspect of the show was they included  full-figured models  on stage to show the real person how she would look in the garments. THAT was a big plus to the production!

I could go on but you will probably be bored reading this blog as I was watching the show. My final thoughts:

1. Front of house is important in a high profiled production as the IWFS. Pay attention to it- create your FOH staff just to focus on FOH. Treat your VIP like VIPs  It was a rip off just to pay for the production. And NEVER devalue your VIP status by allowing the lower paying customers in the VIP area! sacrilege!
2. A fashion show is more than a skinny model coming down the runway showing you a designers sewing talent. That was the 80s. Fashion now set style, set trends, it tells you what is wearing now and what  you will look like if you step outside of your fashion box. That did not happen.
3. Don’t clutter the stage with unnecessary props. The entire night I was hoping someone would use the 2 lifeguard chairs on the stage. No one did.
4. Get rid of the drapery and place your imagery of the show as the backdrop. The imagery to the sides were wasted and did not give the designer much highlight and copyright for the onstage production.
5 Create a VIP seating area and offer servers with drinks, have a meet and greet with designers and models after the show for VIP, make them feel that the $75 was well spent!
6. Get fashion for men. Men actually spend on fashion more decisively than women. They see it they like it they buy it. Women has to go through the BFF committee to decide if the outfit ‘fits’ and that usually takes 5 or more fittings of different outfits!
7. START ON TIME. Nothing devalues a production more than a late start for any reason. It’s like a culture in the islands that  it must start late because we are islanders! Bullshit! 8pm means 8pm in any language and on any time piece.

I broke my rules and paid the consequences. Will i go back to another fashion show? Maybe not but I do believe in third chances. But that chance is valuable. Third time is a charm. And charm me they must!