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This week in the ‘behind the scenes tour’ of Potting Shed Events I want to focus on how we work. These five areas are another foundation of how we operate as a business and, as such, they are broad in meaning. Firstly we are an outcome not an hours driven business. Given that who we are (see part 1) references the fact that we are all grownups, we believe that dictating people’s hours in our industry is not the most effective way to work. Some weeks when we are on live projects, we need to work longer hours and others we can take shorter hours. Rather than dictate this, it makes sense to allow the team to focus on their outcomes for that particular time. Our second point is that we operate a 24/48 hour communication rule. This was something I learnt a few years ago and it is an effective way of dealing with the rare moments of discord. We do work in a stressful industry and therefore occasional disagreements are likely. The 24/48 hour rule is simple – if you are uncomfortable with something you need to take 24 hours to reflect on whether you feel you need to address the issue. If you still feel that it needs to be dealt with you have 48 hours to bring it to the other person (or your manager’s attention). It is so simple and yet means that everyone is able to discuss any issues openly while ensuring that any emotion has been kept in check.

Our third area is that we ask for and receive help and support from those around us. As event experts people are not always great at asking for help but we work as a team and so it is our collective responsibility to help and support each other. Running events an event is the best kind of team building exercise and I believe that event agency teams are some of the strongest teams around for that reason. Our fourth point relates back to being an outcome driven business: we communicate our flexibility with our team. It is fine for any of us to take a longer lunch hour, start a little later, finish a little earlier if your projects allow. However, we keep each other informed about those choices so that we can manage our internal and external communications. And finally, we use social media responsibly. Many of us like to use social media and update with photos and comments about what we are up to. Of course for some clients this is not permissible and so we make sure that everyone understands where the boundaries and what is appropriate. That way we can all relax and use social media as we choose.

In this second post about Potting Shed Events I wanted to explore the beliefs that we hold true as a team. These beliefs are integral to our business and I hope that both clients and suppliers are able to recognise these in their workings with us. Our five beliefs are:

~ We believe team work makes the dream work – slightly cheesy but very true

~ We chose to have fun and enjoy our work

~ We promote equality in all aspects

~ We believe in fair remuneration for all

~ We are mindful of our impact on the world

They are all deliberately self-explanatory but the one I wanted to pick out was ‘we choose to have fun and enjoy our work’. I believe that we are incredibly lucky to work in this industry. We are often spoken about as one of the most stressful industries in which to work – and that is often true – however, we also get to experience some wonderful moments, we get to know a diverse and interesting client base, we get to work in incredible countries and locations (many of which I would be completely unaware of without the job I do) and we get to work with our industry colleagues who continue to inspire and motivate with their creativity, resilience and sense of humour (most of them!). So, all in all we need to remind ourselves to choose to embrace the madness and have fun along the way. Positivity and enthusiasm will see you a long way through a stressful event and, with the right team around you, it is possible to enjoy every single day. What do you enjoy most about events?

A client recently asked me “what makes Potting Shed Events different?” My response was both simple and complex. I believe that each event agency is different in their own way. The differences of any company are derived from all kinds of factors. Broadly these differences fall into four categories: who we are, what we believe, how we work and what we enjoy. The first of these categories is crucial, particularly in a service-based industry. People buy people and the relationships between us and our clients is everything to our business. We become an extension of their team and they of ours.

Internally, we have a culture guide which works alongside the Employee Handbook. The latter follows all the legal requirements and ensures that the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed, but the former is designed to represent our team and has been particularly useful when recruiting full time and freelance staff. In this guide there are five key elements that define who we are. They are:

  • We are grown-ups.

  • We make our own choices.

  • We act like owners not workers.

  • We have pride in what we do and who we work for and with.

  • We do the right thing

The guide was created in consultation with the team and will be reviewed and amended where necessary each year. Some of the other sections may vary a little (more on these in future posts) but I don’t see the five elements of who we are changing. All of the statements are deliberately simple and yet resonate with a truth that can be seen in the behaviour of the people I choose to surround myself with in the business. What makes us different? Who we are makes us different.

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