Are these World Equestrian Games the worst? No. They’ve had failures and been challenging at times, but some things have worked extremely well and progress is being done every day. Here are some lessons from the first week at WEG.
1. You only have one chance to make a first impression.
The venue wasn’t ready to host the FEI World Equestrian Games on day one. It’s functional, the rings and many parts were ready, but there is still a lot of construction going on. Lesson: If you have a deadline or launch a product in the market, it needs to be ready on time. If it isn’t going to be ready, make something simpler.
2. Manage expectations.
When I arrived to the media center on Thursday, I was expecting a finished facility with a state-of-the-art media center as it was presented to the press in April. Not cables dangling from the ceiling and bathrooms without toilets. Had someone advised me beforehand, I would not have been as shocked. Lesson: In my experience, it’s best to be frank and upfront when an issue arises rather than hope that clients don’t notice. If a delivery is delayed, advise the client.
3. Prioritize what is most important.
Except for endurance and the unfortunate cancellation of the dressage freestyle, the competitions have run very well. Times are respected, the rings look great, and we’re getting to watch fantastic sport. For the media, we’ve had excellent internet and food (very important). Lesson: Take care of the basics and build from there.
4. Sometimes, you’re just unlucky.
Two words: Hurricane Florence. From heat and humidity to torrential rain, the weather has played a huge factor in these games. There”s not much you can do against Mother Nature. Lesson: The best laid plans can be derailed by factors out of your control.
5. Be responsive.
Problems are being addressed and solved at a remarkable pace. There is visible progress every single day. On my first day I saw a long line up of spectators trying to leave the venue, the next day there wasn’t one. Lesson: Adapt quickly and fix problems.
6. Be nice.
These huge events are stressful, everyone is under a lot of pressure to perform. But in all my interactions, the staff and volunteers of Tryon 2018 have been very nice and accommodating. Lesson: A positive attitude goes a long way.