Recently 120 guests and I had the pleasure of attending a wedding abroad. Set in a shabby chic finca on a hilltop overlooking gorgeous, sun-kissed Spanish countryside: it was like a film set, only better because it was real.
What followed was heart-stoppingly beautiful, romantic and uplifting. The wedding ceremony was administered by an Andalucían heartthrob called Antonio, the accapella singing was the sound of angels, the open air feast under olive trees, provided by the island’s master chef, was some of the best food I have tasted and the wine was immaculately paired. The groom’s speech made the bride cry, the best man had them rolling in the aisles. And of course the bride looked beautiful and the groom was the most handsome man on the island as they danced the night away. It was about love: it was note perfect.
On the following day, just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, it did. The guests reunited for a BBQ around a swimming pool and carried on dancing where they had left off the night before. The sun shone too.
So what has that got to do with anything? Well, quite a bit in fact. You see it’s what happened in the planning that ensured the outcome was so special. It wasn’t accidental. Those two days of perfection were imagined minute-by-minute two years out by the bride and groom. They had a vision about how it would look, feel and sound in very great detail. And then they did three sensible things: they wrote it down (40 pages worth); recruited the A team; then trusted that team to make it happen on the ground. Managed by light touch and remotely.
You know where this is going. For unfathomable reasons, many businesses don’t have a vision, don’t plan, don’t write things down, plump for a second-rate B team. Micro-managed, bewildered employees with no sense of direction and little communication deliver random, sub-optimal outcomes. And business owners, shareholders and advisors scratch their heads and wonder why.
The other takeout from the event? The harder you work, the luckier you get: it was out of their control but the sun shone. In business, do the smart planning work, sweat the hard yards and bright sun will light up your life too. Oh, and throw in some love if you want a twist of magical stardust.