Delegating weaknesses; experimenting with social secretaries

I really enjoy bringing people together for great conversation and sending them home with new connections, new ideas, and perhaps a reading assignment or two. What I don’t enjoy is actually organizing these get-togethers. I’m terrible at it. I mix up dates all the time, as soon as I hit a calendar, I get mildly dyslexic. Even using the great calendaring systems we have at work, I occasionally mess up dates of meetings. Not good. Embarrassing!

When it’s my job to organize an event, it drops in priority, I lose sight of it, and a monthly tea party becomes a quarterly tea party or worse. I would like to get better at this, and the fastest way that can get much better at this is to have someone else plan the event. Things I don’t like about organizing events:

  • making sure everyone (including me!) has the right location and time
  • coordinating RSVPs and following up with people
  • making sure it’s on my calendar and that Io don’t have any conflicts
  • keeping track of potluck contributions and dietary restrictions
  • making sure there’s enough food
  • reminding me a few days before the event and telling me how many people there are so I can go shopping for groceries,
  • and maybe even suggesting some recipes to try.

There’s so much here I can delegate so that I can focus on the things I love:

  • welcoming people into my home
  • providing a space for great conversation
  • providing lots of simple, yummy food
  • shaping the conversation through questions, interest, introductions, stories, etc.
  • connecting the dots between people, ideas, and tools

And I learn so much whenever I have one of these get-togethers that it’s worth learning more about how to scale up. =D

I shouldn’t let my idiosyncrasies get in the way of having great conversations. So I’m going to have an experiment — I’m going to see what it’s like to have a social secretary. =) It’ll be a learning experience for everyone, but I think it’ll be awesome!

  • In a personal development theme, perhaps becoming a project manager isn’t in your future. This isn’t a criticism — everyone has strengths and weaknesses — but a recognition of innate capabilities. One of my sons can’t help but organize social events — I sometimes wish that he was less social — so I’ve come to recognize his strengths and weaknesses in the context of asking him to help or receive help from his brothers.

    Maybe you should lower your expectations on the amount of organization required for social events. Maybe you’re more of a team builder than a shaper or completer-finisher.

    On keeping dates straight, I’m currently experimenting with Google Calendar within my family. This has required that everyone sign up for a Gmail account, because the integration between e-mail and calendaring works well … and not having the integration makes more work. This may not be a natural path for the world at large, but we currently have more computers in our house than we have people living in it. Technology helps, but I assume that I’ll have some weeks of socialization around the family until everyone gets accustomed to receiving (and maybe sending) calendar invitiations.

  • <laugh> It’s very useful to know what things I’m probably not suited for, so that I can concentrate on things that make the most of my strengths! =)

    I probably need less organization than I think I do, and most people can figure out stuff. =) I suspect that after a few events where an assistant helps me get things off the ground, I’ll feel comfortable with the process she’s defined, and I’ll take on more and more of those tasks.

    As for Google Calendar – W- and I use it heavily. We have access to each other’s calendars (although I use mine much more than he uses his), and we have a number of household calendars as well.

  • seona cruz

    Another way to future proof your career is to always keep acquiring new skills and get certified. PMP Certification is grt if you’re at a project management level or aspire to be in has a great free test if you’d like to gauge your project management knowledge.