The Murphy’s Law and Stapp’s Law that every Event Manager Must Know!

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What is Murphy’s Law?

Murphy’s law is an adage or epigram that states:
Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
Formulated by Edward J Murphy, a Major in the US Air Force in the 1940s, specializing in development engineering. Since much of his work included testing experimental designs, he frequently faced things that did not exactly go according to plan.

What is Stapp’s Law?

Stapp’s Law states that:
The universal aptitude for ineptitude makes any human accomplishment an incredible miracle.Stapp’s Law was coined by Colonel John Paul Stapp, an American career U.S. Air Force officer.

What are these laws in practical life scenario?

When standing in a queue in a large store with multiple checkouts, expect the other queue lines to move faster. If you move to a shorter line, as many times as you like, always expect the current line that you are present in to become the slowest.

When someone asks you to find a word in a particular page and you couldn’t find it, then expect that the person who asked you to do this task will come and point out the word right in front of you making you feel like a foolish person.

So all thoseevents that you may not expect but you feel like ‘Yes I knew this would happen’ after it has actually happened and makes you feel like a stupid, doltish, oafish person, creating a clown-like image of yourself is definitely a culmination of these laws

How are these laws relevant to Event Management?

Event manager are pertinent part of leadership and organizing skills. An event may be as huge as a $1000 a plate fundraiser or as tiny as a neighborhood cleanup council meeting. Disregarding the size, it is important that the event goes on smoothly.

Fundamentally there are two probable scenarios: all is well or something is wrong. The chance that these two events will happen is equally likely. So even if you plan really well for your event take many precautions there is always a possibility of aberrations from the plan, to occur.  All you need to do is avoid Murphy’s law.

According to the Stapp’s Law no one in the world is perfect. This paucity of adeptness construes every human to commit some delinquencies, sometimes felonies with regard to the organizing and conducting an event. Thus the goal to be reached seems impossible.

Why do events face failure?

The root cause of most of the failures is intervention of Murphy’s Law. Either some miscommunication between team members or other key players happen or they are not informed of any backup plans. Predominantly, Reality and Expectation are disparate. Whatever happens during an event may not be the way you pictured it. All these are a resultant of poor planning. Murphy’s Law also dictates that, if a mistake is as plain as the nose on your face, everyone can see it but you and that would be the most embarrassing situation that you would have to face bereft of the cognizance of an issue.

How to avoid Stapp’s Murhpy’s Law?

It is human tendency to make mistakes. Well if you had read the title right above and still didn’t realize the spelling mistake in Murphy’s Law, then yes you are a victim of Murphy’s Law. To avoid these natural-mistake-oriented laws during the process of event planning one must have a solid plan with necessary contingencies for each step, assuming that each step that you plan will or must go wrong. So as soon as you start a step towards a plan, create a real-time or hypothetical situation where it will go wrong, prepare a contingency for each step. Other ways of correction would be:

  • Trying to be detailed in your approach, do not miss out on minute issues or probable problems that you think a plan would create.
  • Following a specific timeline makes your whole plan more systematic and secure from misdemeanors.
  • Get prior ratification of your plan from all the members of your team (if you have a good number of members)
  • Your plan requires a foolproof evaluation by yourself and your team members.
  • Make sure you inculcate the concept of deadlines and assign responsibilities to people in charge of your event other than you.

There are many other laws like Nichols’ Fourth Law that states: “Avoid any action with an unacceptable outcome“. Ultimately these laws intend to act as salvage for the problems that your event is going to beard. So now that you as an Event Organizer or Manager or Planner know the theory of Murphy’s Law and Stapp’s Law you are bound to commit lesser number of mistakes than before.

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