Meetings Canada


Collective Success Requires Collective Focus

By Les Selby, CMP, CMM

Les Selby, CMP, CMM.

Since the holidays, I have been focused on cleaning my home office.

One of the most time-consuming tasks has been going through over 20 years worth of industry publications – MPI’s One+ (and its predecessor, The Meeting Professional); M+IT (Meetings & Incentive Travel); M&C; the MPI Toronto Chapter magazine and several others.

I realize print publications have one disadvantage compared to their online versions: it’s much more efficient to have an article database that allows the reader to perform content searches.

Having said that, I still like to reference printed documents when I am doing research, so I have been going through hundreds of magazines, to retain some of the articles I think may be of personal use in the future.

One of the related benefits of this print review has been the opportunity to see what our meetings and event industry perceived as important over the years.

I couldn’t help but notice how the same issues have held our industry’s attention for more than two decades: creating memorable events; proving the value of meetings; being perceived as professionals; developing successful partnerships, etc.

That made me wonder why our industry has made so little progress through the years.

One of the main reasons, I think, that so many issues have not been resolved is that our industry is comprised of a number of interest groups (that I like to think of as tribes), rather than a community of like-minded individuals.

We are all employed in the meetings and incentive industry, but planners, hoteliers, caterers, speakers, entertainers and audiovisual professionals all face different challenges and have different goals.

And although we all make our living from the same industry, we don’t really share any common objectives or strategies.

Without a collective focus, I have to question how we will share in a collective success.

Do we even share a common understanding of what success is?

I don’t believe we need more industry advocacy.

I think we will share career success only when someone can unite our interests and demonstrate to the public that our industry is an economically important sector that successfully brings people together to solve problems and share ideas that improve our society and its economy.

Anyone ready to assume that role?


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2 Comments » for Collective Success Requires Collective Focus
  1. Well said Les. Why indeed is the community still talking about the same issues?

    In 2009 I wrote in my M&IT column Open Channel – The Do Different Shift…

    ‘The M&E Industry was born out of hospitality, by the supply chain needing a distribution channel to sell facilities and services. Also, its body of knowledge was created by hospitality and planners. The professional planner’s role revolved around hospitality logistics. To be seen as offering strategic value, we need to retool the role of M&E as an investment and hospitality as the means to attend the event.’

    I actually feel like I repeat myself a lot Les! 🙂 The reason the community is still talking about the same issues, is because its modus operandi is from the suppliers’ perspective. It’s not cognizant that the demand has shifted from the supplier side to the buyer side – buyers as in corporate leaders not planners.

    Additionally, the evolution taking place outside of the community’s world has surpassed what is happening within the meeting and event community.

    For the community to grow it needs a new purpose and business model. A purpose, which is aligned with corporate leaders’ needs. And not with the community suppliers’ needs.

    Until this happens the community will be having the same conversations.

    I echo your ‘call to action’ Les and encourage folks to change the conversation. We have lots of information on our Agency Blog or they can watch The Provocateur video-blog on M&IT to help get them started.

  2. Here’s another thought Les!

    Your belief that a resolution has not been achieved is because the community is made up of different ‘tribes’, is an interesting one. And here’s why I say this.

    In the 2012 IBM Global CEO Report – Leading Through Connections, the 3 top things on CEOs agenda are:
    1. Empower employees through value (get everyone on the same page)
    2. Engage customers as individuals (understand what folks want and then figure out how to give it to them)
    3. Amplify innovations with partnerships (cultivate unlikely partnerships to differentiate and create a competitive advantage)

    Just like the community, corporate organizations have different tribes, their called business units and departments. Each is a part of the whole connected by the organization’s purpose.

    My point is its not different ‘tribes’ that are the reason for the community’s static position because each tribe is part of the whole connected by the community’s purpose.

    There was a time the community had a purpose – provide travel and hospitality event logistics. Here’s the thing. The technology evolution has impacted the community’s purpose and relevance significantly.

    The issue is the community has not defined what its purpose is today. What value does the community create? And for whom is the community creating value?

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