Super Control Freak Tendencies Stunt Your Conference Growth

Control freak

Ok, admit it!

You’re good at the details. You have an eye for minutia. You live and breathe by the motto, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”

You wear as a badge of honor that the devil is in the details. You take great pride in creating a sense of order out of chaos. However, your love affair with control can also stunt your conference growth!

Super (Control) Freak

Aaahh freak out!
Le freak, see’est Chic
Aaahh (control) freak out!

Hat Tips Rick James and Chic.

“I’m not a control freak,” you exclaim with great fervor. You resist and persist. You’re a conference organizer. A meeting professional.

You tell others, “I’m just passionate! Detail-oriented. A great leader that loves controlling things. Good at what I do.”

And under your breath you say, “That’s right! I’m good at what I do. Because if I delegate it, the job doesn’t get done…the right way, I mean my way.”

The Control Freak Ceiling

The challenge with your control freak tendencies is that you will eventually hit a ceiling. Your conference growth will be restricted.

When you hit that ceiling, the size of your conference shrinks back to the size of your personal span of care.

Think of it like this: if you want to limit your conference growth, attempt to control everything!

Four Control Mental Models That Cramp Your Conference

Don’t get stuck in conference control quicksand. These mental models will suck the very life of your conference. Beware of these constricting control thinking traps!

Hat tips Dave Kraft, Carey Nieuwhof and Charles Stone for their insights on leadership and organizations.

1. Control Is A Substitute For A Lack Of Clear Strategy

Ineffective leaders swap control for clarity. If you don’t know with great conviction your conference purpose, where it’s headed and how it’s going to get there, you can never truly align your planning team. If you’re fuzzy about your conference purpose, strategy, target market and vision, you can never help your volunteer leadership plan a successful event.

You will default to control when you lack clarity because you worry that your volunteer committees will take the conference in the wrong direction. And you’re right. Without clarity of purpose, strategy, target market and vision, they will become renegade.

The more clarity you have as a conference professional, the less you will need to control. And the more you share that clarity with your team, the less likely they will go rogue.

2. Control Rarely Delegates

“Well, I gave some tasks to some others and they messed it up,” you state.

So whose fault is that? Did you set them up for success? Or is it that they didn’t meet your expectations of a perfect, I mean good job.

The more you need to control, the less you’ll delegate. The less you delegate, the fewer leaders will step up the plate. The fewer leaders your conference and organization develops, the weaker your conference becomes.

3. Your Need To Control And The Size Of Your Conference Are Inversely Proportional

The more controlling you are, the smaller your conference will be.

Our need to micromanage, to know everything and be involved in everything limits us. And it limits your stakeholders’ potential. Growth ceases to exist.

If everything regarding your conference needs to flow through you, you will become the bottleneck. And you’ll stifle your conference purpose.

4. Control Repels Innovation

“We’ve never done it that way,” is your conference’s swan song.

If you want great ideas, innovation and insights to walk out your front door, just become a conference control freak.

What are some other control mental models that you’ve encountered? Why do so many conference control freaks love controlling things but hate being controlled?

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  1. Jen says:

    Love this story. Can I send to my old boss???

  2. I completely agree and in fact all planners know that there is always, always something that goes awry at an event =loss of control. It is how you and your team handle the situation, and the client’s reaction. Find a solution calmly and quickly and let go of preconceived plans.

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