Yet there was one failure. Dr. Michael Haynie was delivering a brilliant talk about our nation’s veterans when his slides began to advance without his control. He recovered and finished strong, but this unexpected problem with his slides disrupted his presentation.
It’s irrelevant how the unexpected automatic transition made it into his slides because it was my responsibility to check the final product. Our team’s core principle was “we will not fail our speakers”; however, I failed Dr. Michael Haynie and my team. We will fix it when we edit the video of his talk, but it was an avoidable mistake.
Mike, I am truly very sorry.
I told our speakers and my team that if a problem occurred we would stop the show. In the heat of the moment, I did not follow my own rules. I should have stopped the show and let Dr. Haynie start over. I also should have taken the stage that day and publicly apologized to Dr. Haynie, my team, and our audience.
This chain of events was a systemic failure that manifest itself in my behavior both before and during the event. I made myself responsible for holding my team accountable for performing their designated roles, but I did not make anyone responsible for holding me accountable. This is a fundamental leadership principle that I profess but am still working on implementing in my own life.
We have a lot of shared responsibility built into all of our team roles, but next year we will build in even more. What happened to Dr. Michael Haynie will never happen again, and by addressing the underlying root cause of that broken system, I’m convinced we will improve all of our processes.
I have an amazing team of volunteers that works very hard to organize and execute an impressive TEDxUniversityofNevada. They deserved better from me. Moving forward, we will continue to improve our processes and raise our expectations of each other.
Stay tuned for TEDxUniversityofNevada 2015!