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  • Maxine English

Shall We Pivot?

Another day has dawned, and I spent the last week having one of ‘those’ weeks. Starting things, starting something else, not finishing and generally popping from one idea to another. I found myself saying that if I heard the word ‘pivot’ once more I would possibly commit an act of violence towards the person uttering it and realised I myself had fallen prey to the ideology that everyone in the events industry needs to reimagine themselves and pivot.

I was moving away from who I am, what I do, and how I work. Which is the worst possible way to reimagine yourself. Why move away from what has worked so well for you, just because your hands are tied? Which got me to thinking, several things. Which led to a conversation, with a friend, who mercifully is on the same page as me. He opened the conversation with the sentence “Why are we being told to pivot, its what we do day in and day out, we work in events?”. The relief, it isn’t just me. We, the event industry are permanent pivoters (this is now a word, go with it, I can do whatever I like during Covid). So why are we being encouraged to do what we always do?

It comes from the uncertainty, we, the industry, all like to plan, as a job, as a person, as Event professionals, we always have a plan, we always have a plan b, and 99.9% of the time the event brain will have a C, D and E on the back burner as well. If all of those options fail us, we are the kings and queens of ‘the fly’, we were born to problem solve, we were trained to react to problems swiftly, with common sense, and with a sense of urgency and resolution. Imagine for a moment that this is how you not only live, but work. Problem solving at speed. Then you are faced with a problem you cannot solve, with no ability to call a favour in, rejig, rethink or rework. You are told to just sit it out.

That’s why the word pivot is being liberally sprinkled into every conversation, so we can all continue to plan, it is in our DNA. So we all plan, we come up with new ways to host events, new ways to work together, new ways to approach the challenges our industry faces, and we call it pivoting. Let’s do ourselves a favour and stop that yeah? Let’s face it, it’s a sh*t word. It is annoying, and it makes most of us think of Ross from friends every time someone utters it.

Let’s talk about how we are adapting, let’s talk about how we are progressing, let’s talk about how we are overcoming, making headway, advancing, innovating, winning. Anything, oh anything but pivoting.

Whilst we are at it can we also put ‘the new normal’ in the bin too?