Eight Proven Steps On How To Deliver A World Class Result- Every Time
We just staged our annual STW Kick Off conference for our 400 most senior leaders. The feedback was amazing. “The most inspiring, impressive conference day of my career.” “Better than TED, better than Cannes.” We were overwhelmed with the impact. How had we pulled off such a triumph? The secret is this.
In planning our 2012 conference, CEO Mike set precise goals: “The 2012 conference needs to be an inspiring and insightful ideas-rich forum that gives our leaders deep value. It needs to demonstrate the power and influence of STW, and our clear leadership position. There is going to be a lot of salary sitting in that room so we had better make it worth their while. It needs to be world class.”
He had plenty of content ideas too, and Mike and the project team quickly agreed an inspiring agenda. Then the project team met to start planning this massive day. It was what the team did in that first hour that ensured the success of this event. It’s a tip proven to ensure an outstanding result every time, whenever you have a major goal to achieve. Here it is.
Begin With The End In Sight
It’s one of Steven Covey’s ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, and it works. Dammit- IT WORKS!
Our team started its first planning session, three months away from conference day, by working through, step by step, minute by minute, how the day would unfold. We started with the look and feel of the stage. Then what would happen when our 400 leaders arrived at the venue. How we’d get them into the theatre. What would be on screen as they walked in. How CEO Mike entered the stage to kick off the day. The lighting. Music. What happened next to create a dramatic moment.
And so on and so forth…every step of the day. We called it our ‘screen play’.
The team started the project planning with absolute clarity about what success looked like…. with a very clear picture of the look, feel, vibe, drama of the day. We began with the end very much in our sights. And yes- the team continued to amend and fine-tune that screen play as speakers dropped out and others were locked in…but the end outcome was always crystal clear.
The Eight Steps To Delivery
Bill Marsteller defined EXCELLENCE this way: “Clarity of Purpose, Attention to Detail.” We had clarity from the start as to what we wanted to achieve, and now we needed to deliver. The team turned to the proven 8 Steps To Delivering Excellence formula:
- Determine what success looks like- what you are striving to achieve
- Write down that outcome- so it is clearly articulated, endorsed by the team. Write it in the past tense, as if you’ve achieved it: “Today we held an STW Leadership meeting universally hailed by our leaders as outstanding”
- Write down the date you want to be able to say this. In our case, 8 pm 21 February 2012
- Then brainstorm a long list of everything you need to do to achieve that result… a massive ‘to do’ list of everything needed to pull it off
- Develop a plan- phase the work eg Securing The Speakers (and Fall Back options), Content Briefings, Theming, Logistics, Staging etc
- Allocate responsibilities
- Set Deadlines
- Get started immediately
Oh- and the team also paid big attention to rehearsing. In fact, we rehearsed the rehearsals… just to ensure the content and linkages were perfect before the final run through. And then we did a dress rehearsal. Every step of the way. Frame by frame.
And what a day it was. Outstanding speakers, from within STW- from the young up and comers to the older tribe- to a former Prime Minister, record breaking sports coach, big ticket innovation change agent, leadership guru, media industry thought leaders, and a ‘no holds barred’ conversation with a powerful and provocative Chief Marketing Officer. And much, much more, all under our theme of ‘Ideas Create Growth’.
And at 8pm that night, after a tsunami of glowing feedback, our team was able to say: “Today we held an STW Leadership meeting universally hailed by our 400 leaders as outstanding.”
Excellence = Clarity of Purpose, Attention To Detail.
And get the clarity by beginning with the end in sight. It works- every time!
Well done David Sawicki, Peter Kingsbury, and particularly to Ogilvy Impact’s Jacqueline Teurlings- and thank you to the rest of our fine team.