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My eldest daughter, Ashley, got married earlier this year. The marriage took place in a small venue in Southern California, near the sea. I felt something during the wedding that is a great lesson for entrepreneurs everywhere.
The sign of a good team is when they do their job well when everything around them is going well, but the sign of a great team is when they do their job well when something goes completely out of their control – and yet, they find a solution. Finding solutions to unexpected problems is a force for any business.
A few hours before my daughter’s wedding, a vehicle drove a nearby transformer and the venue lost all power. It was a disaster to create. However, the manager went to a hardware store and bought several generators, which his team took to the venue just in time.
When the wedding party was in a frenzy to lose power, the manager and his team were calm and positive that everything would be fine with the world. Her confidence in her party was flowing at the wedding party. There is a lot to learn from an entrepreneur or manager who can respond to a serious problem by maintaining their composure in a growing crisis.
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Venue brings back power with their collected generators. Everything seems ready to go. The electricity went off within minutes of the wedding. Guests were in their chairs and music was playing for me to take my daughter down the corridor. Then, just before I started to turn the corner to take her to her waiting groom, everyone stood watching the bride – and then, the electricity went off again. I looked to my right and saw a group of people from the venue rushing towards the generator and fixing the last challenge in a few seconds.
With that the song starts again. The people stood. Venue has gone above and beyond to get us all into this moment. Now, any bride would be mad at this moment, and my beautiful daughter must have been in that headspace. As I walked him down the corridor, I did what any parent could try to do: help him forget his nerves. I can feel her hands shaking as soon as we take our first step. I leaned down and whispered in his ear, “Have you ever wondered why you park on the driveway and drive on the parkway?”
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It was such a random statement at that moment that he looked at me curiously and said, “What?”
I replied, “Or, why are you shipping and driving?”
The sheer randomness of these questions makes her laugh. People had to wonder what I was saying to make him laugh. As we approached her groom, I ended with one last question, “Why are they called apartments when they’re all stuck together?”
At this point, she was no longer mad, and she had a huge smile on her face when I kissed her on the cheek, told her I loved her and handed her over to her groom. She was beautiful, calm and very, very happy.
If everything goes well, it’s hard enough to fix everything. The test of a team’s ability to perform is how they handle things when there are serious challenges around them.
The lesson of this story is:
- Stay calm during a crisis and project that calm feeling to your clients.
- Trust your team (which means you need to have a good one).
- Don’t focus on the problem – focus on the solution.
- Take quick steps to implement that solution.
Oh, and if all of this happens just before you walk down the aisle to your daughter to get married, get her mind out of the mess and have some fun. This last bit of advice can actually work in many situations throughout your life and your business.