I just returned from our annual meeting – imagine almost 4000 chicken people in one place. It was great! This is an event that Chick-fil-A, Inc. has hosted for over 40 years. Sometimes, people ask me, “Why would an organization want to get all their key leaders together on a regular basis?”

We want to get our leaders together because we believe in the power of events. However, even as I type this, I’m reminded of a big idea from my friend and mentor, Tim Elmore. He’s a fan of what he calls Catalytic Events. He says that these events can certainly inspire and motivate. But he also cautions leaders that even the best catalytic event has its limitations.

He recommends that every Catalytic Event be followed by what he calls Process. The Process is where the real change takes place. The Process is where people actually activate the ideas they were introduced to at the event.

Both Events and Process are extremely valuable. However, they are vehicles to accomplish fundamentally different things. Leaders need to understand the strengths and limitations of both. Here’s a quick summary of what an each can do…

The Event                                                The Process

Informs                                                         Transforms

Challenges                                                    Changes

Motivates                                                      Matures

Inspires                                                         Instructs

Excites                                                            Equips

Starts                                                              Sustains

The biggest challenge most organizations face is not creating amazing events – it is creating an effective Process to follow the event. In the final analysis, hosting an Event is easier than creating and executing an effective post-event Process for transformation and life change.

Process can take many forms; however, its core components are typically the same.  They include: Other people – these people serve multiple purposes – encouragement, accountability and dialogue to name a few. Additional Resources – this allows the individuals involved to go deeper with the content. Most Catalytic Events are not designed to go deep. And finally, Time is required. The transformation that Process offers is rarely seen quickly. I guess that’s why it’s called a Process.

So my leadership challenge, and yours, is to create Catalytic Events and capitalize on the energy and emotion they generate by also investing heavily in the Process that follows the event.  So don’t be misled by my opening question – Event vs. Process? It really is the wrong question – the correct question is “How do we do BOTH?

 

Author: Mark Miller

Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.