The Benefits of Being a Control Freak

The Benefits of Being a Control Freak
September 03, 2019
I have a confession to make: I may have control issues. For those who’ve met me and have gotten to know me, this is probably no breaking news line. I simply hate leaving things to chance and I luck isn’t something I bet on. I like to build processes and plans, and prepare in a way that ensures the results I want. Oh – I know I can’t guarantee the outcome for every little detail or step along the way. In my mind, it’s simply a matter of putting all of those successes and failures to task in fine tuning the way I work so those gaps get smaller and the stumbles fewer.


The Value of Learning The Hard Way

This way of thinking started for me early in my career while working for companies that were unconventional in a lot of ways. They didn’t provide their employees with the support of a traditional corporate infrastructure. I learned the importance of managing every detail of every day, month and year in order to maintain control of my life and create the balance I needed to be productive and happy. As I ventured out on my own, those lessons I’d learned became even more valuable.  When you work for yourself, you need to be in control of your business and on top of every detail. This isn't solely to drive success but is critical to business survival. You can't just hope something happens the way you want. You need to put the work in to make it happen the way you want.

The Story And The Show

Throughout my career, I've been passionate about events. That passion is born of the blending of the story behind it and the show you make of it. I loved taking the vision and turning it into an experience so memorable that it was recalled and talked about for years. Whether a product launch, conference, gala, sporting event, wedding, or your kids’ birthday, if I was producing it, I was going to do whatever it took to make it unforgettably perfect.

Process And Partnership

I crafted an interview process to find the ideal clients who'd benefit the most from my expertise and experience. I asked a lot of questions. Some with basic, closed answers like "yes" or "no", some open-ended to see where it took the conversation and to their creativity, flexibility and openness to new ideas. Part of the process was to help them more clearly define their expectations, then collaborate with them explore alternatives and find ways of making their events truly memorable when and where it mattered most.

Creating Trust And Controlling Your Time

Earning and maintaining trust is imperative when working with clients. It's the key to maintaining the control you ultimately need to execute in service to them. The most important element in building that trust? Communication. Regardless of event type or client personality, I set regularly scheduled calls and provided easy-to-follow agendas with specific action items. Following each call, I'd send summary emails and give assignments to complete before the next. These steps made it easy to present options and streamlined the decision making process so we could maintain momentum and meet our goals. I encouraged emails as a way to communicate between meetings and always made sure to respond quickly. Normal business hours were kept for impromptu phone calls and I always answered when the phone rang. I created and enforced a clear understanding of and respect for each others' time. This helped to define our relationship and kept me in control of the work-life balance I knew I needed for my sanity and theirs.

"Playing It Out" To Prepare For Everything

Nothing else quite defines the value of control than when you lose it. Being prepared for the catastrophic was something I embraced early on. The minute I'd sign a client, I took all considerations int account and crafted different scenarios for their event. I then matched each one with unique solutions that'd guarantee the best possible outcome. I'd work to mitigate risk and eliminate variables that could negatively impact the event or our progress. To make sure my team and my clients were well prepared, I'd build contingency plans and catalog resources. Do-overs in this life are few and far between. I knew I had to put the work in to get things right (or, as close to it) the first time.

Being prepared for anything is critical to maintaining control of your outcomes and meeting your client's expectations The Roman Philosopher Seneca is credited with the saying “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” I like to think this means we control our destiny and, with preparation, you'll meet the opportunity you need to succeed. This month some of the best and brightest in our industry will share their views on control and its importance in running their businesses, managing their clients, and creating the shows that tell their beautiful and bespoke stories. 


About the Author

Rob Farrow
Rob Farrow
Aisle Planner, CEO
Avid surfer, father, and husband, Rob Farrow is the charismatic CEO of Aisle Planner, focusing his efforts toward building a solid corporate foundation, defining the brand's DNA, and ensuring the creation of best-in-class software solutions for every event pro and for every event, every day, everywhere.