…As they say in Yorkshire and today that seemed to be irrefutably proven as (and at the risk of sounding all Fleet Street) the preparation for our forthcoming social media event took a dramatic and unexpected turn!
Tensions have clearly been building in the team. I think this was more the result of a clash of personalities that has intensified in the context of
a. working within a small group; and
b. having a reasonably short deadline for delivery.
However today it became clear that this combination had taken its toll and sadly tensions boiled over…
In my role as chair of the group and as a sincere attempt to head off this very situation I had suggested an informal chat over coffee for anyone with concerns about how the project was progressing. The idea was to get any differences of opinion out in the open so that they could be discussed rationally. Having spent my entire working life in fairy high pressured environments I honestly thought today would be pretty straightforward. After all, we all have the same goal.
However, the ‘out in the open’ part of my plan, as it turned out, was the only thing that worked and my idea of a ‘friendly chat between like-minded individuals’ descended into a slanging match that would have made Jeremy Kyle blush. I can honestly say (now at the risk of sounding like my parents!) that in all my years I have never seen anything like this (apart from that one time that I did accidentally see an episode of the Jeremy Kyle show).
I’ve organised numerous events during various roles throughout my career, and for thousands of people, with all kinds of unknown variables and risks – technology failure, people not showing, guests disappearing when they were due on stage and even one time where I launched a new service for a very high-profile client, whilst at the same time as fighting off a hostile takeover of the business where the buyers planned to asset strip the company (now there’s a story!). In all that time I have never known the thing to go wrong, the weak link in the chain, to be the people whose responsibility it was to make something a success. I guess, looking back, I’ve always been lucky to work alongside committed people able to put aside any personal differences they might have had for the good of the team and to just get on with the job at hand.
So today has been a valuable lesson and the first serious test in my short leadership of this particular project.
Once again I’ve been fortunate –the team response has been fantastic and whilst today has left a big hole in terms of what, at the moment appears to be the loss of a team-member and their own unique perspective, and therefore an increased workload for everyone, I think events have galvanised us and given everyone a renewed sense of purpose. What is it they say, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…
I guess you could say, all in all, it’s turned out nice again, hasn’t it?