It's been said that if you aren't making mistakes, then you aren't trying hard enough and improving. I know that I have certainly made my fair share of mistakes over the years. I certainly hope that it means that I'm getting better. I know that as a company, Athlete Guild is constantly trying to improve the way that we do things and we certainly have made mistakes along the way. As most in life discover though, it's not a matter of whether you make a mistake, but a matter of how you handle it. Do you learn from those mistakes or do you simply move on and hope not to repeat it.
As one of the largest timing companies in the country, we have the opportunity to work with lots of different organizations and race directors. There are a lot of really good organizations that operate with a great group of volunteers and staff. Each of these organizations host events in an attempt to raise much needed funds for their organization. As a company, we have the pleasure of working with them to produce a great event and hopefully put on a successful event. While the event itself is important, the actual definition of success is whether the fund-raising goals were met. The organization can host a really great and fun event, but if the event just breaks event or event worse, loses money, then it was not a success regardless of how the participants feel. Our goal at Athlete Guild is to help these organizations maximize their revenue and at the same time help them to hold the line on expenses with the utlimate goal of a net profit. We've been doing this a long time and have lots of ideas about how to do that.
Sometimes in working towards an event, mistakes can get made along the way that end up causing problems for the organization or the participants. After every event, we sit down and look at the event and discuss the good and bad of the event. We look at everything from marketing, setup, timing and post-race. We ask questions to determine how we could have improved or done our job better to assist the organization. We also look at the organization itself to see what failings that they had. If there were problems on our end, we look to see what could have been done better and how to not repeat those mistakes. It's a constant effort but worth the effort.
As anyone in the service business will tell you though, sometimes things happen that are completely out of your control. One of the lessons that we have learned is that the timing/event company is always the scapegoat when things go wrong. The truth is that it is rare that the event company is the one to be blamed. Most issues are a result of the race director either not communicating properly or simply dropping the ball. Whether it is with enough water or volunteers, improperly marked course, lack of entertainment/announcer/PA, or even issues with scoring because of bad data; the race director is ultimately responsible. We work with some great race directors who seem to always have their act together. If things happen, they understand and are great to work with to rectify any problems. Unfortunately, there are too many race directors that act like the proverbial Bridezilla and throw everyone under the bus when they are actually to blame. It's usually because the RD doesn't want to look bad to family, boss, peers, etc. It's much easier to place blame than to simply own the mistake. We've all had to deal with those people. As a company and a matter of principle, we will always own an issue when it is our fault. If it's not, then we attempt to make sure the appropriate parties are addressed and work through a resolution. It's amazing to me though how many are unable or unwilling to do that. I'm sure that you have all had those experiences.
Please let us know how we're doing. It's simply constant improvement.
See you at the race!