Thoughts on Leadership is the brain child of Paul Bridle. This is the place that Paul shares his monthly thoughts.

Another Conference

Posted: April 30th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

istock_000003165849mediumWho would put a team together that did not share the common goals and seek to work in harmony to complete the outcome? Imagine a company where the design team are developing a new product and did not have any contact with the sales team, the marketing team, the tool makers, the production team, the purchasing department or the instillation team?

Maybe they are designing and developing a car where the various people that helped design, test, manufacture, install and market the product were not in contact and did not know what was required of one another?

Can you imagine the hotel where reception does not know about the conference being held in the Ballroom this weekend. Nor does the kitchen, housekeeping, leisure or the concierge. Would they cope? Probably they could muddle through, but what sort of experience would the delegate have?

Yet in the meeting industry, this is exactly what happens. The various areas who all contribute to the event, all work in isolation for a faceless customer and in some ways do it in opposition with one another. In fact it is worse than that, the client does not know what they want and has given the job or arranging the meeting or event to someone with no clear objectives. In fact they did not give the responsibility of the event to one person. They gave finding the venue to one person, designing the program to another, choosing a keynote speaker to another, sorting the recreational activities to another and choosing the gifts to someone else.

Two things happen. Down the line someone realizes that more is needed. Sound and lighting, printing a program, communicating to delegates (maybe even marketing to them) and so it goes on. The second thing that happens is that the people assigned to a job, start to pull in other people. A venue finder is hired, a bureau is approached, a leaflet design company is commissioned and a marketing company is brought in.

Many times the person in the company is covering their back if something goes wrong. The venue finder is hired so they can be blamed if the venue turns out wrong. The bureau is hired so that they can be blamed if the Keynote Speaker flops.

The result of this whole attitude or approach is a barmitzva where the main meal is roast pork and the evening disco has a live appearance by Snoop Dogg talking about Fatherhood!!!!

Ok maybe a bit over the top, but doesn’t it make you wonder about how businesses go about doing something that has a major budget allocation, involves massive resources and time, is often meant to be part of reward and recognition in the company, is meant to educate and should be inspirational with some focus or end result?

There must be some radical changes within this industry at all levels. The client is going to need to be a lot clearer about what they want from their meetings and events in the future. This clarity is going to be THE most important aspect, and the time is right. Companies are under pressure to bring costs under control, ensure the best value and give a return on investment. They are looking for ways to achieve this and be assured that meetings and events are one area they will focus on. However, they are going to need help because defining what they want out of a meeting or event is not easy.

There is a lot of talk about Return on Investment (ROI) but not many people really understand it much less know how to go about it. For example, a product launch is not an objective. It is not simply to advise people that a new product is now available. Maybe years ago, that was all that was needed, but today there is a lot more is needed as an outcome. It involves educating the consumer, positioning the new product in the market, creating consumer interest and enabling the retail outlets to respond and deal with the sales and live up to the image projected.

So the client needs to be a lot more focused and clear on what are ALL the possible outcomes they want to achieve and how they will all be measured.

The industry is going to have to be a lot better co-ordinated and accountable as well. No longer will various aspects of the industry be able to see their contribution as more important than another. The venue is not singularly more important than anything else. True the venue makes a big difference, but it is not the sole contributor to the experience or the outcome. Every contributor has a touch point where they have an element of impact on the final outcome.

In Meeting Architecture – a Manifesto, Maarten Vanneste suggests the need for the Architecture who, similar in designing and creating a building, works with the client to identify objectives or outcomes and then orchestrates the creation through to delivery and evaluation. Certainly the analogy is an excellent one, but it is the mindset of the industry and those that work within it that needs to adjust if this is going to work. Some are going to have to adjust their current business models because they create blockages and don’t contribute to the meetings objectives.

As a Keynote Speaker I have worked with Bureau’s, Meeting Planners and Event co-ordinators. I have encountered every sort of protectionist approach possible from every one of them in the past. I hasten to add, they are not all the same or act like this, but most are very protectionist in their approach. They have their own agenda or their own fears and past experiences with speakers that cloud their ability to work as a team to move towards achieving the clients objectives.

On the other hand, I watch the arrogance and self centred approach of speakers which show they are not prepared to work as a team towards a clients objectives.

Have a great month and please remember that if you have any questions then email me tol@thoughtsonleadership.biz.  Also you may be interested in the video or audio edition of TOL.

– Paul

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One Comment on “Another Conference”

  1. 1 aidendnog said at 7:28 am on May 24th, 2009:

    Hi, nice posts there 🙂 through’s recompense the interesting dirt


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