Posts tagged accountability

But it’s not my fault!


I want to be an event planner. I am not a masochist. But, sometimes I fear the two go hand in hand. The exciting thing, to me, about events is how everything comes together in time and space to create this incredible, real, touchpoint experience for everyone involved. There is interaction. There is community. There is life. Sometimes, there are pretty things to look at and yummy things to eat. Every sense can be engaged.

The terrifying thing about events is everything I just said. There is less control and no edits. There are the confines of time and distance. What’s done is done, and if it’s not done well, there is no backspace key or reset button. If something goes wrong, will it be my head on the chopping block?

This is one reason why I’ve been drawn to corporate and nonprofit events versus weddings. Don’t get me wrong, weddings are fun! I’d like to keep it that way. I’ll plan my own and help my friends. But event planning is a demanding profession, and the personal emotions (for better or worse) tied up in the Happiest Day of Your Life are just the icing on the towering cake of pressure put on event planners to ensure that everything runs smoothly, on-budget, and successfully. If I make a mistake in an event, I’d prefer not to think I’ve ruined somebody’s lifelong dream.

Event Planner Christy Bareijsza wrote in her blog, The Red Carpet Events, about the responsibilities of event planners in her recent post “Where Do You Draw The Line?” She says that “if it rains the day of your event…chances are, it’s your fault.”


Bareijsza explains that, as a strategic planner, you should always have multiple backup plans and be constantly prepared to roll up your sleeves and do the dirty work to keep your client satisfied.

I think what she’s saying is that rather than admitting defeat or pointing fingers, the best thing an event planner can do for a client is to be accountable, which means not just taking responsibility for mishaps but, more importantly, generating positive solutions. In my experience, hardly anything ever goes perfectly according to plan. I think clients understand that. But being a good planner doesn’t mean planning it all and then going on autopilot. Instead, it means developing flexible strategies, supervising their implementation, and improvising as necessary to ensure that end goals are met.

Personally, I’d like to think that I will never make a mistake and everything I touch will turn to solid gold for my clients. In reality, that’s impossible. Mishaps will occur and I will get blamed, whether or not it’s really my fault. This, I must accept. But the difference between pleasure and pain will be how successfully I can anticipate, prevent, mitigate, and repair the damage. Then I can proudly accept responsibility for the outcome, rain or shine.

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