How to Fill Events …

- August 2, 2012 2 MIN READ


Last month we ran three big events. A 400 seat theater in Melbourne, 275 seat theater in London and a 600 person theater in Sydney.

The question I keep being asked is “how does your team manage to do it?… How do you fill these big venues?”

My answer tends to scare people. We book a theater and then get good people working on filling it… Essentially, “we fill it because we have to”.

I’ve come to the conclusion that human beings are not normally proactive creatures. As much as we’d love to be proactive, rarely do we do things unless we are solving a real problem.

I remember that classic scene in the movie Apollo 13 where the head engineer at NASA tips a pile of parts on a table an says “we have less than 7 hours to make this square peg fit into this round hole or our astronauts aren’t coming home alive”.

Faced with a real problem and a very real consequence of failure, the NASA engineering team were able to create an “impossible solution” in an “impossible time frame”.

Could they have done this if it wasn’t life or death? Who knows, but they did it when the problem showed up

Back to my point on how we fill theaters.

Step1. Create a problem

We book a theater, sign a contract and pay a deposit. We have a deadline, we have clear targets and we either fill it, or we fail, lose money and look ridiculous.

Step 2.  Get brilliant people working on the problem.

Everyone on our team is a ninja. We’ve crafted an environment where anything less than an A-Game just doesn’t stick.

Our team don’t perform tasks, functions or roles, we “get shit done”. We work the problem until its fixed.

We have a team of very smart people who love a challenge and everyone is 100% committed to hitting our target… and then some.

These two ingredients are an explosive combination.

If you can create a problem and get good people engaged in fixing it you will see magic.

It’s not unusual for text messages to be bouncing around late at night with ideas and updates. It’s also not unusual for new people to quit in their first month when they discover that we run on results and we don’t care about how well you followed the job description.

If you want a new level of results you don’t need more motivational quotes and dream boards. You need to create a big problem that needs to be solved. You need to get in over your head.

Then you need to get on the phone and get a bunch of smart people engaged in solving it with you.

It might sound stressful creating a big problem and engaging a team of ninjas/geniuses/legends to help you solve it but in my experience, it’s when I feel most alive and get the most done.

What are your thoughts? Can a team perform just as well if there isn’t a big problem to solve?