If a younger me was asked , what I wanted to be when I grew up, I probably would have responded with a dream typical of any Indian child: a doctor, a solicitor maybe even an shop keeper. (joking of course) Fast forward to today and I’m none of these things because maybe my fate was always meant to be what I am today .
Working as an operations manager for a leading catering and events management company has been a part of my life for only 6 years and I would definitely call it my “happy place.” I often hear the groans of people around me who questioned my motivation for entering into such a chaotic career field. My response is the same every time: “If done right, there’s no chaos in my day.”
On its face, operations management requires a lot of planning, checking checking and more checking. But after the sales department transfers the order to operations, it then becomes my problem!!!!!!!
And so it begins…
My job begins with, what we call ‘The Event Specs’ being handed over. Then the madness begins, First question I always throw back to the sales guys, ‘ whos client is this’ that determines the integrity of the event spec (inside joke). We must understand the goals of the client, as well as have a working knowledge of the financial pieces of the event. Additionally, we must work closely with our suppliers and communicate their role within the event . All of the puzzle pieces eventually come together in a very methodical way.
Once the questions have been asked meeting have been done, I can start strategizing on a plan. While i strive to execute the event as told by the Spec, we also have to exceed the client’s expectations –and nothing motivates me more than exceeding expectations without breaking the bank. This is the point in the process where I begin to feel like a rugby coach as I coordinate all the pieces to eventually compose a successful WIN.
After leading this process for many years now, I have found there are three main components to successful event operations:
1) Be communicative: I find that if I am constantly circulating information to suppliers and staff in a clear and concise manner, they are bound to be successful. Having strong relationships with all facets not only makes communicating easy for me, but also allows me to trust that each will do what they’re supposed to do on the day of the event. Communicating effectively with all of the people involved in this process helps in producing a flawless event, as well as building great relationships.
2) Be accessible: Part of being an Operations manager is being accessible. Attending site visits, client meetings and conference calls helps me to have an in-depth understanding of client expectations as well as any particular refinement issues.
3) Be prepared: The day of any event, I am the first to arrive and the last to leave ………….sometimes. Working behind the scenes to make my event and sales team look good or being prepared for any problems that might arise is the type of work that energizes me. As a successful operations manager at Mahirs Experience , I am an a creative problem-solver. While I prep and plan for weeks or months……sometimes days , I am always prepared for any type of issue on the day of the event, I strategically work my way through it. I have to ensure I have direction and management over everyone involved in the process, which could be anything from making sure the event staff have bottle openers, to ensuring the other events which I am not personally attending are still in control and ultimately in my care. On this day, I find that preparation is my best friend.
It’s not over ‘til it’s over…
Being the last to leave an event still doesn’t mark the end of my work for me . Every event I work on has to come full circle, ending with a “Monday Feedback meeting” for everyone involved. Our feedback to the Mahirs team to hotels to suppliers is helpful for future events. We can see what went right, what needed work and how we can improve for the future. If we keep making the same mistakes we are monkeys…
Although I have worked in the industry for only 6 years, I want each client to have a unique and individualized experience. That’s a huge reason we use the “family” approach at Mahirs Experince, because I would do anything for my family. While the planning side is important to any event I work on, the operations of each event is crucial to turning a basic “party” into an “experience.” “ THE MAHIRS EXPERINCE” So the next time you meet an Operations Manager and immediately want to ask how he deals with the pandemonium, remember, done correctly, an Operations Manager’s job actually prevents the Madness!
Blog written by Operations Manager, Gurpinder Nahal