It’s Not Always Going To Work As You Want
The initiatives you deliver won’t always work. It’s what you learn from them that helps produce something stronger.
When you learn from what you create, you turn the disappointment into something proactive. You’re not always going to be right and that’s fine. Better to stop and adapt, rather than persist and become irrelevant.
When things aren’t necessarily working, it’s time to own it, shape it and move on.
Sharing With You What Hasn’t Worked
If I’m going to be open and say that everything isn’t going to work, then let me be an example and share it with you.
Since July 2021 and as the world started to come back together, YATM took the leap to deliver hybrid events with YATM Online Offline. It was a mix of people coming together in local theatres and also people viewing via Zoom. It meant that the calibre of the main guest catapulted as we could say hello to others from around the world. It was a mix of networking, entertainment and celebrating others who are a part of the YATM community.
However, I’m owning up to it now and saying that it didn’t work.
I thought that I could cater to everyone (online and offline), when my goal was to bring people together and we learn as a group. What I did was provide too many options. It was too distant from each other, and not everyone felt a part of the same experience.
There were lessons I took from this hybrid ‘experiment’
I began to notice two separate sides.
The first is the level of learning that we can explore together that relates to content creation, building, audience, ownership and growth. We can bring in so many people from around the world to contribute their knowledge and experience in a ‘live’ space.
The second is that people enjoy being a part of YATM and around like-minded people who know and respect each other. Sometimes, it’s not all about learning. I realised this at the December 2021 YATM Online Offline with the theatre power cut and shifting the event, on a whim, to a nearby pub. Everyone stayed, and no one complained.
This realisation, makes me understand that I’m progressing and experimenting to create the opportunity to learn from my experiments and explore more.
Here are some more reasons why the hybrid side of YATM hasn’t worked:
— There was so much work that happens in the background from tech, script, continuity, food (which has been amazing), to just making sure the wifi connection is fine.
— I believed it was a way to bring people back together after lockdown, when in reality if you don’t need to go out, you don’t have to
— People’s biggest obstacle in not attending in-person events is time. We realised that we can get time back from not committing. From a YATM Learning poll have a look at the answers to this question
— It felt right in summer 2021 as restrictions were tentatively lifted, but as the months have progressed people are not as cut off as they were
— I don’t think we went deep enough with our topics, but it can be hard for someone sitting in a theatre becoming fidgety when looking at a screen for an hour (there has to be a flow)
— There was a sense of caution. For instance, the January 2022 event was postponed due to the high covid cases at the start of this year
— I became exhausted. With the set-up and organisation, whilst it is a team effort when concentrating on two audiences and laser focus it is not just delivering a hybrid event, but the build-up to it
— Providing attendees with options to attend or watch online made it feel more of a novelty act when I should have been focused on one audience or another, not both.
What I have realised though is the ability to deliver on a new level and see everything through new eyes.
Delivering hybrid events has become an invitation to find a better way. This has led to the decision for the YATM Creator Day (on 26th May). This means focusing on the people who choose to come together and motivate each other, where we’ll work in collaboration.
It’s a case of being in the same space as one another and everyone making a commitment. What we’re going to do is create a piece of work in smaller groups during the afternoon session.
You only get to figure out the answers by working through these live experiments. No one can make an impact by always working on their own. Having a team to support you and a community to surround you is important. It’s all a lottery, you’ve just got to do the hard work and face the wobbles to do something that works for everyone. Not everything you do is going to work.
It’s About Making A Better Future
We spend a lot of time shining the light on what makes us feel rewarded and bask in our success. This also means we put a lot of time into avoiding fumbles and limiting mistakes. If that’s all we choose to do then we are limiting ourselves from creating amazing work and continually pushing ourselves.
As I now realise, the grand expectations we set ourselves may not work out precisely as we imagined them. Then again, if we are fortunate we can step into the arena, and experience for ourselves, then we can figure out and adapt. No one needs to stay the same or even accept what they have always done will work.
Knowing that the YATM Online Offline side did not work out as I wanted (but was fun working on), it has led to something that I’d like to progress for the future (leaning into the Creator Days of working as one). I’d rather accept that not everything is going to work, than plow ahead with something no one cares about.
If you are leading people, delivering, or creating for others, you have signed up for a continuous roll call of pitfalls. That’s the price you pay for being prominent.
The tough decisions made and facing up to the fact that not everything is going to work, means you’ve stepped forward into your own lessons.
Perhaps the way that things are today, doesn’t match the rules of how you wanted them to behave? That’s ok, be bold, step forward, adapt, evolve and fix what doesn’t work.
I’m ok with opening up and saying that the hybrid format of YATM didn’t really work as I had planned. I can either acknowledge that it’s perhaps time to pause, or persevere and be wrong going forwards.
So much never goes according to plan, but I like to keep trying and if you have people around you, you feel lucky to keep going.