On With the Show

I got through last week with the help of the hand drawn map, and accomplished my volunteer tasks as well as the usual work related ones. The week ended with a major dose of receiving rather than giving, – something compulsive doers should remember that they need from time to time. It was a marvellous show called Riverdale Share.

Riverdale is a Toronto neighbourhood popular with young professionals that also has those with special needs. Fifteen years ago a group of volunteers conceived the idea of a benefit concert for organizations offering service to the community and asked its resident artists to perform. The show is now a sold out heartwarming tribute to the season that is entirely directed, produced and executed by members of the community who volunteer their services. It appeals to audience members of all ages. There are appearances from stellar professionals like Luba Goy, of the comedy show, Air Farce, Steven Page of the Barenaked Ladies and Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo – and of course they are great performers. There are also about sixty kids from one of the local school choirs singing along with the stars and 30 little girls from the local dance school. The climax is always an appearance of Santa Claus.

But what always amazes me is the band. It is composed of well known performers and studio musicians who are used to working quickly. Music director Tom Leighton’s arrangements for them can range from rock to opera, but they always come through to support the solo performers in just the right way. It looks as though the show has been in preparation for months. The truth is that the sound check preceding the show is often the only rehearsal.

If only our organizations and companies could operate with the same finesse. Instead, so often we argue and fumble in subordinate roles when we back up the leaders. We all need to be on the same page quickly and effectively as the musicians are. That’s one of the real benefits of maps.

Among the events that I used to be heavily involved in were annual conferences. They are very similar to arts productions I have also been involved in. To make the event itself run smoothly there are often years of planning to create it – and then last minute changes can throw unexpected curve balls. Mapping plans in advance is an excellent way to see both the details and the big picture – and even see where those curve balls might arrive. This map is one of the ones appearing in my book, See What You Think, How to Work Better and Faster with VisiMap. You can preview and buy it here.