The client is always right. This, as we all know, is the sacrosanct code that everyone in the corporate industry lives by. We all double over backwards to make a team building day, conference or dinner event, work perfectly, just as the client wants. I believe this is what separates the great from the good. Being able to steer your client towards their own success is the mark of a professional.
I remember long ago, when I was starting out as an event manager with another company, I would have buttered toast, cut and prepared, for a demanding client as he walked into the conference room early in the morning. This innate desire to keep clients satisfied has now matured into ultimate flexibility in the way we deliver our team building events.
Over the years we have learned that, to be successful, adaptability is crucial. I would like to share an example of how being flexible avoided a disaster and still left our client looking good.
A prestigious London council once booked us to deliver a finale drumming event for a 70-person conference. With the admirable intention of saving tax payers’ funds by avoiding hotels and conference centres, the client took the community route and hired a hall next to a local religious centre.
Thirty minutes into our team building finale, everything was going well and our client was beaming. Suddenly, representatives of the venue pulled our client aside to break the news that secular rhythms and music were not allowed within the building and to request that it was stopped immediately.
This was something of a logistical oversight by our very embarrassed client, who had taken complete responsibility for the venue booking. Fortunately, we had a divine idea. Behind the scenes, we placated the religious leaders by promising no more rhythms or music and I went on stage to deliver the last surprise challenge.
I explained to the conference audience that the last section of our activity would be an exercise in intention. We would remove the drums from in front of them but still require them to play all the parts: the rhythms, the solos, the breaks, in fact everything they had learnt…but on new invisible drums instead!
This unique challenge, devised by their own leaders, showed that communication in itself is not necessarily important. It was the intention of our actions that created the end result.
We brought the group to our usual final climax in complete silence, as everyone mimed their drum-playing. The group found it hilarious, the venue had no noise issues and our client looked like a visionary team building guru!
Flexibility is essential.
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