It's been a month since my last confession and I swear I don't know where that time has gone - actually that's not quite true. I know exactly where it's gone - a haze of budgets, scripts, certificates, dress choosing, invitation writing and all the other things that go with putting on a BIG event.
Deciding we could maintain better control, and, thus, a better outcome, my colleague and I took on the job of running our regions Business Excellence Awards on our own. No committees, no volunteers. Just us - managing every aspect (albeit by employing some fabulous subcontractors for the actual award night). We had a budget, a strict one, a time line, also strict, but a fairly broad brief - make this the best awards ever and the sponsors, and entrants, will love us for ever.
Although much of the focus goes on the glittering awards night - a black tie dinner and ceremony for 300, there was A LOT of prework. Categories to be finalised and in some cases completely recreated, criteria to be decided, a process map to write and then adhere too, marketing, sponsor relationships, the financial aspects, theming the process, recruiting entrants, launches and training workshops, communication with every interested party. And then the work on the actual night - band, lighting, special effects, sound, caterer, menu, venue, MC, theming, the balance between keeping everything secret and having to arrange speeches, certificates, trophies flowers and power points - and of course the set up, pack up. Let me tell you, it takes a LONG TIME to put Lycra covers on 300 chairs!!! At times it felt overwhelming. At times I wanted to hide under my laptop.
I had my hair done, a trip to the beauty therapist, a fantastic new dress (didn't manage to lose the 5kg I wanted to but ho hum). My young man had a fab tuxedo and all that goes with it.
The awards night itself would appear to be the end of the process, but in fact for me it isn't. Although one of the areas of responsibility this year was managing the event, in some ways it's now that the really hard work starts - paying bills, balancing the books, getting feedback (from both ends of the spectrum) from entrants, sponsors and guests. Reviewing every decision in order to continue improving next year.
But the show goes on, and right now I'm in the afterglow of a fabulous awards night, where 300 people were wined and dined and got to wear their finest outfits. There was an air of celebration that only small town NZ can appreciate, and yet it was still slick and professional enough to please even our toughest big city critics. There have been lots of positive phone calls and emails in the last couple of days, far outweighing the odd negative comment received - and a great reinforcement for we two CEOs of a job well done.
Onwards to next year.