Do You Have the Right People In Your Kitchen? (Finding the Right Planning Team)

by Sep 27, 2014

The experience that you have in a top-notch, fine dining restaurant can be undeniable. Crisp white linens, white glove service, and food that leaves your taste buds screaming for more, are just merely highlights. Yet we all know, what happens in the front of the house, doesn’t always happen in the back of the house. At times, the kitchen can get a little messy.

Welcome to the kitchen

If you have ever been in the kitchen of even one of the best restaurants, you are bound to see top chefs working together under intense pressure to meet all of the demands of the dining room. There are fierce interactions between team-mates, and their management. There are directions given, and risks taken. In the event planning world, the experience of planning an event can be intense. Rarely does anyone know all of the work that goes into executing a flawless event experience. Because  things can get so heated and intense, it is very important to have the right people on your team.

Everyone on your event planning team should believe in the purpose of the organization, or the purpose of the event. All team members, although unique, have a common bond with others on your team, as they all believe in what is to be accomplished while they are aboard. If you are leading your team, it is very important to ensure that all teammates have a commonality with you, the team, or the purpose. This helps you know where they stand, and how you can address any issues should they arise.

Meet the team

Usually with a event planning team either big or small, you have one if not all of these types of individuals on your team. Its always a good idea to know where alliances lie if in the event things get a little too hot in the kitchen.



The besties are people that love you. You can be real with them, they can be real with you. If you need to vent, they will be there to listen and not judge. They will follow you through the fire, and come out smiling. They are your true fans. Seth Godin mentions in his book Tribes, that you can never have too many fans. Everyone needs people on their team whom they can be transparent, and join them in the journey. If your whole team can be made of besties, that would be perfect, but often is not the case.


The Elect

Those elect on your team are for what you are for. They are lined up with you because of your cause whether it be the vision of your organization or your goal of your event. They aren’t like your bestie, because they are lined up to the cause – not you. If you change your purpose then these elect might leave, or you might have to win them back somehow. If any of the elect see another avenue that might get them to their goal quicker, you better believe that they will leave quickly. You see, the elect were never attracted to you, but just to your direction. As a leader, or a team leader, you have nothing to worry about until you change your direction. A word of caution:  Make sure you don’t mistake a bestie for an elect member. It can be hurtful.



What makes comrades so special is that they are against what you are against. They are attracted to you because they have a common enemy in which they are happy to fight with you – as long as the fight exists. Does your organization have a competitor? Does your event plan on being better then the last one? These are examples on which your comrades will align themselves. When the fighting and competition stops you will sometimes be attacked by your own comrade. Be careful not to end up in this situation. Know who your people are and who’s in your kitchen!

If you can’t take the heat…

Remember the age old saying? “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen”? Sometimes that can be true for our event teams. Know who is on your event planning team, so that you can place people in the right places in order for the event to be successful. Sure, the restaurant is incredible, but you  have to have the right people in the kitchen. If not, you will never accomplish what you want to accomplish.

It doesn’t matter where you come from, every meeting department or event planning team has a distinction between the kitchen and the dining room. Know what that is for you. In the end you work with people, and do business with people. We all walk through life with people that bring us up or down, which one do you want?


Photo credit: COD Newsroom via Flickr


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