While many event planners work independently, and with great success, it’s important to understand the value of a well-formed functional team. Large scale race planning is are often done in teams because this is the most efficient, stress-free and collaborative way of working. A team member should be empowered, trusted and respected enough to work on their own under a common goal and then brought together to bask in the mutual success of the team.
One of the key aspects of supervising any team is making sure that the whole team is engaged with the organization’s mission and understands how their work fits in. If you have a ‘core event team’ you should try and apply this early on to keep at the front of everyone's mind. Second to mission, is brand. There are countless ways to work mission and brand into your team’s identity.
Not everyone has the resources to hire people, but if you’re considering adding an extra person to your race planning team, here are a few reasons to do so:
- Helps Problem Solving. Team work promotes innovation and ideas sharing. A problem shared is a problem halved, or so the saying goes. Using the problem-solving abilities of a small team doesn’t just resolve issues faster but can also lead to avoiding them again in the future.
- Takes The Pressure Off. Being a race director is stressful, knowing that a colleague has your back – as you have theirs – brings comfort in itself. If someone else understands what is left to be done, by keeping them in the loop early enough, you can share transparent goals to defined deadlines. Handling participant queries and supplier communications, for example, will become more intense towards race day, so having different people on different roles will improve your efficiency.
- Reduces Stress. Being able to delegate work when your to-do list is longer than your arm will reduce a lot of pressure, particularly nearing race day. When there are tight – and often competing – deadlines to hit, stress levels can be greatly elevated but being able to share the responsibility can be a load off the shoulders.
- Makes Your Race Unique. By combining the knowledge and expertise of several members of a team will ensure that each event is unique but it also defines your company. Not everyone shares the same passions and tastes so it’s important to consider what others might require from your event rather than just relying on your own likes and dislikes. By working in a team you can create a brand with themes and ideas that represent your diversity and cooperation which translates into future events and builds a strong event identity.
- More Self-Awareness. Self-awareness is being conscious of what you’re good at while acknowledging what you still have yet to learn. By working in a team you are constantly learning from others and being aware of any gaps in the knowledge or skills you already have. Self-awareness of your strengths and weaknesses can net you the trust of others and increase your credibility.
Race Day Roles
A common mistake is to think you can manage everything yourself, but if you’ve organized a race before you’ll know the reality of race day is more like a redbull fuelled firefighting day that you just try to keep on top of until it ends. So if you have the resources to hire part time or more permanent staff to help you mange things, here are some key roles that will make your life easier:
- Marshalls and Volunteers Leader. Depending on how big your race is, marshalls and volunteers will take up a lot of your management resources to keep trained, well informed and happy. There are several steward management companies that can help you do this, who provide stewards in bulk by doing all of the recruiting, training, informing and deploying for you. This all comes at a cost of course, however, if you don’t have someone as part of your team to help you manage your volunteers and marshalls, it’s a worthwhile consideration to take some of the pressure off race day. This can shift responsibility in the run up to the event and on the day itself.
- Social Media Management. Keeping your social streams up to date on race day will gain you some great engagement, which you really don’t want to miss out on. People will be more in tune to your social media than ANY other time of the year, so make sure someone is on hand to do this! Participants will be posting at your event, so sharing their posts can be an easy win to get some good content. Live streaming is also extremely engaging, especially for something like your start line, which you can do across Facebook and Instagram.
- Contractors Manager. Portaloos, race arches, water providers, food vendors etc. Keeping all of these in check is obviously time consuming on race day, but also in the run up to it. If you can hire someone to help you manage contractor logistics in the run up to the event, they will take a load off your shoulders and hopefully help problem-solve with you should any issues arise.
- Traffic Management Officer. If you’re closing roads for your event, this is a job which you simply cannot do by yourself without leaving other areas of the event unattended. Invest in a traffic management company that can help you plan the day and then execute those plans.
The event industry is made up of many freelancers and individuals with experience in niche areas and those who create “event magic” as part of a well-rounded, agile, fast-paced team. You can apply this to your races by tapping into some of these modern-day dynamics. If you build out your team early on, you can build trust so that when a problem arises there’s always a solution, if you appreciate the value of a well-formed functional team.