With the scent of Valentine’s Day roses still in the air, this month I tackle a topic that not many discuss in the workplace: Love.
I realize, of course, that merely uttering this word in an office setting has the tendency to set off fireworks with HR folks worried about the demon bugaboo — sexual harassment. But that doesn’t mean we should toss out the critical ideas of loving our work, colleagues, and companies. I recently scoured the business books in my library to investigate the concept of “love” at work. Here’s what I found.
Expert Interview With CEO Christopher Noyes
Meet Christopher Noyes, President and CEO, Noyes Associates
Alice Waagen: Chris, you are an entrepreneur who left the corporate world to found a meeting and event planning firm. As a person who finds planning an annual family vacation overwhelming, I have to ask: why do you love this work?
Chris Noyes: Quite honestly, I love the adrenaline rush. I love spending months working out the details of every aspect of a conference, big meeting, or convention. Then, after two or three days of intense craziness, it is all over. The thrill of it never gets old.
Alice Waagen: It sounds like to be good in your business, you need to be great at focusing on the little details and the big picture.
Chris Noyes: You bet. When I describe what I do, I say that to be good at this business you need to be part lawyer to understand dense and complicated contracts, and part stage manager, because you are constantly pulling together a variety of players to make the event work. And honestly, any event planner who says their conferences go off without a hitch is lying. What you really are doing is trying to get everything to flow as best as you can so that at the end of the day the client is happy.
Alice Waagen: What is your secret to success?
Chris Noyes: Stay calm, because it transfers to everyone around you. Last fall, for instance, I was organizing an outdoor event when unexpectedly the skies opened up and within minutes everyone was drenched. I just kept calm and moved through it. My client picked up on this, and as a result, no one panicked. In fact, we made the experience kind of fun. Having the ability to turn lemons into lemonade is another reason that I love what I do.
Alice Waagen: It sounds like you have mastered the challenge of leading an ever-changing group of subcontractors, which is an obstacle that many of my clients face.
Chris Noyes: Yes, this is one of the most challenging aspects of what I do. To be successful, I must delegate the tasks of running a meeting or event to my staff, as well as hotel employees, caterers, and my clients’ employees. Clearly I can’t fire most of them. So I explain that we all have the same goal of making the event go off without a hitch. I also pat people on the back for a job well done. Everyone wants to love what they do, and be good at it. I show them that they are making a difference, and in the end everyone wins.