Party Professor – May 2020


Unintended Outcomes

Working Past the Fear & Uncertainty to Prepare for a Bright Future

Beth Standlee 0319

Beth Standlee

By Beth Standlee, CEO, TrainerTainment

Every time we create something, make a new decision or put a process in place, there are things that happen that we could not have predicted. Often, people talk about the unintended consequences of a new situation. You can bet I’ve been thinking a lot about the unintended consequences of COVID-19. However, once I got past the “Oh crap” moment, I begin to think in terms of new outcomes instead. So, what are the positive consequences of everything we are facing today?

The Brain

Quite frankly, I’m not sure that I even know how to think about unprecedented stuff. However, once I got past the fear of the unknown, my creative/what’s-next brain was able to kick in. Honestly, it took about two weeks, and a 2-trillion-dollar government bill for the worry to give way to a creative “what’s next?” way of thinking.

What I do know is when you are scared, worried and fretful, there is no real opportunity to think or dream about the future. Fast Company has a great article with several resources to help you get to a better “thinking” space to create new ideas. (You can find it online here: www.fastcompany .com/3022519/the-science-of-great-ideas-how-to-train-your-creative-brains.)

The Switch

So now what? Instead of thinking about the dire consequences of the situation we’re in today, could we switch some of our attention to the new outcomes for tomorrow? I understand that we don’t know when we can congregate again. The hospitality industry today is dependent upon the dense congregation of large groups of people. What’s the new definition of a group? Will we be able to gather in groups of more than 10, 50, 200? I don’t think we know yet, but what could happen if we begin to dream and scheme about the what-ifs?

Time That Hasn’t Been Available Before

I think one of the most interesting outcomes today –– for this moment –– is we have time that has not been available in the past. Before COVID, we all ran at warp speed, managing payroll, inventory and the next promotion, and usually, we ran behind. We have all these good ideas that could make a big difference if only we had the time.

How often have we used the phrase, “I meant to do that, but…” Due to today’s circumstances, it looks like we may have the opportunity to do some of those things we’ve been meaning to do. What is that thing you’ve wanted to do that you believed could make a BIG difference?

What If You Were a Startup?

It finally occurred to me, that this “stay at home” situation is a real opportunity. It’s a bit of a scary opportunity, but it’s an opportunity, nonetheless. If we all stopped and considered ourselves as a startup, how differently would our minds work?

Listen, a startup has every dilemma we are all in right now. Everything is unknown. They have no idea if they will be successfull, but the conviction that their idea will succeed drives them to forge ahead. A startup usually has zero experience and they are unafraid of their future.

If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you know you can succeed. Can you combine your experience with the enthusiasm of someone trying to bring a new project to market and face the day in a bigger, better way? A new project doesn’t have any money to pay anyone. They have to get funded. We are all in that situation today. If you could see the craziness of the world today through the eyes of “startup,” I believe your reinvented life/business probably looks a lot different than the “crisis” view it feels like today.


I don’t intend to be blindly optimistic, but I do intend to stay in business. My belief is I can spend my time fretting over what is or work on what’s next. Is everything a shot in the dark? Probably, but doing nothing isn’t an option for me. I hope it isn’t for you either.

Entrepreneurs know how to create vision and do good for others. At some point, people will be able to physically come together. How we do that may look different, but I think the brilliant minds in the family entertainment industry will figure out how to do that better than before. We may depend on many more private events. We may learn how to limit the flow of people in our facilities (translation: create exclusivity). We will find great ways to assure moms that everything is very clean and safe.

Together we will figure this out. It is what we do. I want to do it with you and hope you’ll count on me as a resource and share your creativity!


Beth is the CEO of TrainerTainment LLC, a training company devoted to the family entertainment and  hospitality industries. Beth and her team are focused on helping the companies they serve make more money through sales, guest service, leadership and social media marketing training. Training products and services are delivered in person, through books and DVDs, and virtually with e-learning courses, webinar development and 24/7 online access. Visit her company’s website at



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