The racing world has always been ahead of the curve. To remain competitive, drivers, mechanics and team owners maintain a culture of continuous improvement. When not competing, they plunge deep into a relentless pursuit of greater efficiencies for their product and strategies. Like in our business, no one wants to come in second.
Most of us relate the “need for speed” to heart-pumping excitement, adrenalin rushes and miles per hour. Race teams, however, have long moved past relying on an ordinary speedometer to monitor their transition from point A to point B. Instead, they use a tachometer, a highly sophisticated gauge that measures the revolutions per minute of the engine’s cam shaft, because that measurement has more to do with achieving peak performance. That’s how the racing pro moves the needle in his or her world. How do we do that in ours?
Are you the next Steve Jobs?
Historical examples include some heady names: Walt Disney, Herb Kelleher and Steve Jobs, among them. They despised mediocrity. Resembling their competitors, even slightly, was considered failure. In return for their obsessive and sometimes compulsive desire to shape and define their industry, they changed norms while developing a loyal, sometimes cult-like following. Translated: They devoured market share. But it doesn’t take genius. It takes insight, desire and drive.
Are you in touch with your tachometer? Is it moving forward and causing chill bumps along the way? That’s a good question for all meeting professionals. As the Great Recession fades in the rearview mirror, it’s time to emerge from our own pit stops with renewed energy and passion. Whichever side of the multibillion-dollar meetings market we sit on, opportunity awaits. We need to replace the words “sluggish” and “flat” in our corporate reports with the words “healthy” and “robust.” And we need to be inspiring.
Let’s resolve to take a fresh look at our best practices and release an updated list of “outrageous practices.” Create new agendas and dialogues. Shake up your meeting formats and the ways you communicate with your members, your board and your associates.
Do you measure guest or member satisfaction? When was the last time you gave that survey a makeover? How about the verbiage we use in our internal and external communications? Is it stale and predictable? I would bet on it.
Say it with music?
Moving the needle means exploring new frontiers. Take a group of colleagues to a fun place outside of work to discuss new ideas. Start with listing things that you’ve always done a certain way and, together, discover a new way to get it done. Eliminate duplication and redundancies. Infuse your meetings and workdays with music. Establish new email protocols and take back some of the hours in your day. Our email inboxes are a form of corporate waterboarding. Take control of your email and feel what it’s like to move forward again. And get some sun on your face for God’s sake! You look like you just went through a recession.
I hate that we Americans somehow bought into devoting 50+ hours per week to our jobs and then find it normal to allow earned vacation days to go unused. Resolve to seek balance.
Since you are tied to a scheduler and don’t move unless it’s in your Outlook calendar, get creative with your entries. A few of your new “mandatory” meetings each week should include “exercise,” “think tank,” “career development” or “personal phone call to a valued client, member or associate.”
Let’s face it, you will probably not shorten your workweek, but you can reformat it to be healthier and more productive. And remember, nobody will do this for you. You make it different. You move the needle.
It’s go time. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.
Want to read more about how to design meetings that inspire? Check out the 2013 PYM Annual. Not on our mailing/digital distribution list? You can access our educational program for free by subscribing to PYM.