Yesterday evenening we had a great party at Antwerp Management School for the launch of our book. Everybody just loved the 5m high elephant in the courtyard. Leadership keeps the elephant out of the room. Inside the school there was music & dance, cocktails & food, pictures & books, and above all a great atmosphere. What were the key success factors for this event?
1. The idea came spontaneous. There was no plan, no obligation, no must. The decision to organize a party ‘happened’ somewhere during the summer because it felt right (for a number of motives). The whole organization took us 2 months.
2. People connected to the idea voluntarily. Because there was no plan, people stepped in and took ownership of actions without feeling obliged or stressed. And because ownership was voluntary there was not much need for following-up and control.
3. Three non-negotiables helped to take decisions without much discussion: budget, deadline and the ambition to have a cool leadership party.
4. Because people were involved personally, they tapped into their own networks. The DJ’s, the photographer, the catering, the red carpets, the event-T-shirts,…. were all found through personal contacts. Personal contacts have the advantage of trust. Not a lot of fuzz to handle.
5. The wisdom of the many. A lot of small decisions as e.g. “how many students do we need?” were thrown immediately in the group without concerns of ‘roles’ or ‘responsibilities’. There was a lot of “twitter” in the group and the larger community through formal and informal channels.
6. The organisation gave us trust. It was only a few days before the party that we started to realize that we were organizing something special without having involved the management committee of the school explicitely. But it felt ok. We had their trust.
7. It took us three years. To foster the community, to develop social capital and trust, to get credibility inside & outside the organisation. To make us want to celebrate….