Funeral Industry News

As soon as you have 2 people you have organization problems

August 20, 2009

Ryan Thogmartin is the CEO of DISRUPT Media | Follower of Christ | Husband | Father | Entrepreneur | Host of #DISRUPTu! and #FUNERALnationtv | Lover of Skittles DISRUPT Media is a social media content agency that focuses on storytelling for funeral companies. We use real stories to build creative strategies that achieve actual business goals.

As soon as you have 2 people you have organization problems

Your funeral home has been asked to serve the family of a politician who has died in office. It is up to your firm to plan the public event to be held one week hence. It promises to be the largest funeral that your community has ever seen. You have been asked to work with the Governor?s Office, the staff at City Hall and the Masonic Lodge. Your firm has conducted many funerals but this is the first of any magnitude and your slightly envious competition is just waiting for you to screw up.

Yes, the above scenario is hypothetical but believe me it is a possible reality for you any day of the week. Because you are a funeral professional, you know what needs to happen in order to conduct a large service. You also are aware of the pitfalls of having too many ?chiefs? and the three designated players are often top heavy with ?chiefs?. Situations like this often try us but if we are able to listen to what others are saying, we will arrive at the end of the day feeling satisfied that all went well.

Paramount on the list is communication. At the initial meeting make sure you have a recording secretary that you trust. Your initial meeting should include time for each party to speak of the needs of their group. Priorities should be assigned and tasks set to be reviewed at the next meeting. Regular daily meetings or teleconferences are a must to avoid encroaching on each others territory. At your first meeting you would be wise to agree on a media liaison unless you want four different people making you look bad by giving four different answers to sensitive questions. You will be exhausted at the end of the week but you will be rewarded for your attention to detail.

Each of the three groups that you will be working with has expectations about what will happen on the service day. Each will need to agree on who-sits-where and who-sits-when, who leaves first and who enters last. Each of the three will need to agree on who speaks and in which order and which official cars are where in the procession.

Play the above scenario in your head next time you are quiet in the office. Imagine your funeral home working along with city hall, the Governor?s office and the Masonic Lodge. How would you approach the next week? Each one of the funeral directors in this group has the skills to conduct this service. I ask you to share your thoughts with the Connecting Directors members because I know that the sum is more powerful than the part. There are many mortuary college students in this group who may benefit from the group insight. If you receive this call in the wee hours of tomorrow morning what will you do?

My friend, Keith Leverton, was sound asleep when he received the call that Princess Dianna had died. I often think ? what would I have done? Aside from needing a change of underwear, I think I would have managed well because I believe in the premise of communication, communication, communication. That would have been my take-off point, but I am sure a part of me would have been numb because I am aware that as soon as you involve two people you have a potential organization problem ? and City Hall would have been the least of Keith?s concerns.

What will you do tomorrow?