We had our annual company party on Friday night. It was my department's turn to host the event.
The party ran smoothly for the most part with just a few hiccups during the evening.
Thankfully, people on my staff are usually the ones involved in major parts of the logistics year after year which made many of the party functions able to run in cruise control as much of the nitty-gritty "how-to" stuff was handled nearly by rote.
I heard many favorable comments about the evening from all levels of employees and management about how well the party ran and how enjoyable it was. Most of that was due to, as in many successes, hard work and dedication of a few people who labor out of the limelight.
In the planning meetings I found frustration in the push back I got from senior management to any ideas of doing things "out of the norm." In fact, I had complained privately to some that the planning could be done from a manual with the same procedures done time and again. One after another, my ideas were shot down and seemingly, the event was destined to be much of the same old, same old as many previous parties.
As the evening was concluding I noticed that our company founder, his son, the current company President and the others at the VIP table remained throughout the party. I had thought that at some point because of his advanced age, at least he, and some others, would have called it a night earlier. After greeting him when everything was done he seem very pleased that things had turned out so well and it occurred to me the true purpose of the party and the amount of dedication he has fostered in the organization.
The resistance I was getting was because of an unspoken thing that the party needed to be like others in the past...ones that he had attended and probably enjoyed. The party is always said to be for the employees and to recognize their efforts from the prior year. That is the way he would want to do it himself. Those closest to him "get" that and work to be sure those parts of it is always there...a little entertainment, recognizing employment milestones, the look on their faces when they win big prizes, some money getting spread around and general merriment and satisfaction at being there.
The way he would do it himself. These are things that stick in even the cloudiest of memories and as long as he chooses to attend the parties he deserves to have that sameness in these parties.