Bear with me. I am making a wide turn. This is still the Venue Sportsman and I will come back around to speaking about events and sports event venues. But, follow me on a tangent for a minute.
The University of California, San Diego is one of the finest public institutions of higher learning in America. I was fortunate to be staff there and to help operate their incredible sports facilities. The University of California is a research-based system and this is certainly true of our beautiful, La Jolla campus. This focus on analysis and knowledge was also apparent in their HR and staff management approach. As staff at UC San Diego, we received incredible training and continuing education opportunities. One such opportunity that managers were afforded, was called the “Supervisory Training Laboratory,” Sup Lab.
The purpose of Sup Lab was to give supervisors the tools to function as leaders on campus so our respective departments had happy and productive employees. Though policy was discussed, the majority of Sup Lab was about understanding ourselves so that we could better understand the people who work for us. With this gained perspective, we were expected to more effectively communicate, delegate, and manage conflict. Our studies in Sup Lab were centered on understanding personality types. In the first class, we completed a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality assessment. We then segmented the class by personality types to observe the similarities and differences in how we all see the world.
My personality type is: INTJ. “Conceptual planner.” “Conceptualized director.” “The Architect.” I share this label with roughly 2% of the population. The components of my personality type break down like this:
Moderate Introversion (I)– I moderately prefer “to direct [my] energy towards [my] inner world and get energized by reflecting on [my] ideas and experiences.”
Slight Intuition (N)- I slightly prefer “to take in information by seeing the big picture. [I] focus mainly on the patterns and interrelationships [I] perceive.”
Clear Thinking (T)– I clearly prefer “to base [my] decisions and conclusions on logic, with accuracy and objective truth [as] the primary goal.”
Very Clear Judging (J)– I very clearly prefer “to come to conclusions quickly and want to move on, and take an organized, planned approach to the world.”
Myers- Briggs establishes 16 personality type combinations that are a result of 4 distinct variables:
- The way you direct and receive energy (extraversion versus introversion).
- The way you take in information (sensing versus intuition).
- The way you decide and come to conclusions (thinking versus feeling).
- The way you approach the outside world (judging versus perceiving).
Personality types are not good or bad. One is not better or worse—it is simply a way to describe how we interpret the world and to understand why we behave in certain ways. Though not static, I have found the description of my personality type to be very consistent with how I see myself. My classmates in Sup Lab also found this to be true.
I started this article with personality types because I think it is really interesting (you might be an INTJ if you describe things as interesting) to consider how personality influences our desires and talents. As a new small business owner, I am spending more time thinking about what makes my skills marketable than I ever have before. I am wracking my brain trying to understand my audience and how to communicate my value proposition to that audience. By harkening back to the lessons learned in Sup Lab, I began to consider that I (a venue manager) see the world differently than my primary clients (event promoters) and this different perspective creates value.
“I can see the big picture and can anticipate downstream effects. I also know who to call when I need an expert. I am, in essence, a project manager. My base skill is to connect people, services, venues, and equipment in order to accomplish a specific task on a hard timeline. Along the way, I create systems to improve both efficiency and effectiveness and manage people and crises.”
These are the words of a “conceptual planner.” I have always said that venue management people are cut from the same cloth. Despite INTJs only representing 2% of the population, I would guess we represent a much higher percentage of the venue management industry. This type of work is directly in line with how we experience the world. It showcases our talents by allowing us to “devise strategy, give structure, establish complex plans to reach distant goals dictated by a strong vision of what is needed in the long run,” according to the Quick Guide to the 16 Personality Types in Organizations.
I would also venture to say that a majority of event promoters are not INTJs. In my experience, event promoters are risk takers who operate more from feel and the way they perceive the world. Event promoters have incredible vision and creativity. They understand people and what motivates them. They believe in their vision and will work like heck to make it happen. Event promoters will find frustration with the minutiae and process-oriented approach most sports facilities employ in their management structure. The operational details may be seen as speed bumps or obstacles to be bypassed or delegated. Policy and bureaucracy may seem pointless and wasteful.
The challenge is neither of these perspectives is wrong and both are right. It is all relative, and successful event management requires objectives to be in alignment.
We don’t talk about it a lot in venue management circles, but event planning is really about imagination. Operations folks get so focused on policy, efficiency, and logistics, we often fail to see that our primary role is to execute on the vision inside of our client’s imagination. Events are an innate expression of the human experience. They are a foundational element of community and our need to connect with each other. Events create a sense of status which is a show of our personalities. Event management then, is simply the process of creating a framework and structure for visions and ideas. Event promoters are the designers and event managers are the engineers. Event coordination is not “yes” or “no.” It is “why” and “how.”
Event and venue management, like most everything in this world, is collaborative. It requires both the planners and the dreamers to work together in support of a vision. This is really what we were taught in Sup Lab. We can accomplish great things when we apply our individual talents to where they can be most productive and communicate in ways that are meaningful, despite different perspective. Stylehawk was created to bridge this gap between event venue and event promoter—the pragmatist and the idealist. To provide the horsepower and capacity for event promoters to create best-in-class sport events. To systematically eliminate the event pain points so event promoters can enjoy the events of their imagination.