I’ve always been an organizer — a ‘director’ of sorts. I think it runs through my veins. It is just easier to find the right shirt when my closet is organized by color. I’m not a neat freak but it saves time when I can put my hands on a document that is filed in the proper folder. I’m pretty sure I’m not OCD, but it just makes life simpler when I know exactly which drawer contains the cheese grater or what cupboard holds the wok that barely gets used.
When faced with chores that I dislike, breaking them down over a period of time makes the tasks a little more bearable. For example, I hate housework. However it must be done, so I typically accomplish it over a week. For each of the five days something different gets finished. Dusting one day. Bathrooms another. Floors the next. Nothing taking longer than an hour on any given day. It fools me into thinking that I didn’t spend 4 to 6 hours cleaning the house! Of course, listening to music or an audiobook also helps make the passing time more tolerable.
I am not foreign to organizing big projects. From films to writing to reunions to work functions.
For the last twelve years spent in corporate America, I coordinated numerous events and activities where employees learn, have fun, and bond. Two of my favorites were conducted annually. These were the only times of the year that we had all local and remote employees together in one location.
One was a themed Employee Appreciation Night and the other was a Team Building Day. My boss and I would generate ideas, then I would go to work creating and executing a plan. I thoroughly enjoyed making these events happen despite the work involved, they were always really fun!
Some of our Employee Appreciation Night themes included Harley Davidson, Hollywood Awards, Casino Night, Sailing, Hawaiian, Winter Wonderland, Golf Outing to name a few of them. I used a company called Themers. They are located in the Phoenix area and have great decorations, props and everything needed to bring a desired theme to life.
And I loved shopping for the fantastic door prizes we gave away - televisions, bicycles, game consoles, suitcases, jewelry, camping equipment, patio sets and Coach purses. Funny side note - I had no idea what a Coach purse was until my boss sent me off to find one. Holy smokes was I surprised to see a purse cost so much! Haha! Yes, that is very telling about my fashion sense. But those purses were coveted every year by our female employees hoping to have their name pulled from the bucket!
Our Team Building Days typically consisted of part presentations and part enjoyable learning activities. One year we did a musical theme where everyone had an instrument to play. Another we had a full on scavenger hunt around our brand new 60,000 square foot building. One time we actually set employees loose with all kinds of random supplies to build a bus in which everyone could fit. A favorite of mine was with a company called Venture Up that had an outdoor course by the Superstition Mountains. There we climbed telephone poles to jump off, fell backwards from wooden stumps into the arms of fellow employees and figured out how to pass people through rope spider webs without touching the sides.
Years before, another project I coordinated for an airline was a million dollar customer service training program. We hired two facilitators to conduct the actual two day training in Phoenix for over 3,000 participants from all over the country. Each two day training session consisted of 100 employees so it translated into thirty sessions.
Some of what was done included assembling a customized workbook, working with the hotel for ballroom space, arranging meals, coordinating with managers in all our cities to ensure employees were scheduled for training, reserving hotel rooms and transportation for out-of-town employees, scheduling the presentations of senior management, and keeping track of all the training statistics. Huge logistical puzzle! Loved it!
Then there have been reunions of friends and neighbors that were put together. One literally taking years to coordinate in order to find as many people as possible from our high school. Oh, and numerous indie film projects, chairing of volunteer teams, community type projects, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.
So what is the best thing that comes from all of this? Results. The satisfaction of a productive and enjoyable experience for the recipients. Of seeing something come to fruition. Something that didn’t exist before we started.
I recently took the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment. What was one of my top five strengths? Yup - an ACHIEVER. A little of their description for this strength includes:
People who are especially talented in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive. By nature, you traditionally determine for yourself and others what should be done. After you have made up your mind, you typically waste little time moving forward with projects or assignments.
Admittedly, I have a human resources and training education and background, so working with people is very natural for me. Granted interacting with people can be frustrating and challenging at times. However for me, I find these practices work best: respect, communication, follow through, acknowledgement, appreciation and most definitely an understanding that people have varied work styles and methods for getting things done.
Why do I write about this today? Because this weekend I fly back to Arizona to shoot our film BLUE COPPER. Several people have already put in lots of work to make this creative endeavor happen. And there will be many additional hours spent over the next two weeks and beyond.
Most of these projects, events, and activities that I have mentioned don’t come about because of a sole person but instead by a group of individuals contributing their unique part. I never would want to take credit for doing everything myself. I garner tremendous satisfaction in working with people to achieve a larger goal.
You’ll have a couple week reprieve from my Blog while we are in production. When I return to Texas, there will surely be some stories to share! All the best to you!
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