I received the most interesting comment the other day on my LinkedIn post.
I was talking about my annual business plan retreat, and the process of setting goals for myself for the upcoming year, two years and stretching out to my five-year vision.
One of the industry’s brightest commented that it was impossible to plan that far out given how much the meetings and events industry has changed, and continues to change heading into 2023!
This commenter isn’t wrong, we’re seeing changes and trends like never before as we come roaring back to in-person meetings in 2023. Trends and predictions set a year ago never came true, and a bounty of other things happened to muck up our plans heading into the New Year.
We see things in direct conflict with one another – lack of availability at hotels and staffing shortages are taking centre stage, but then there’s also the talk of a recession. Food shortages and costs are on the rise, as is talk about being sustainable and sourcing local – what happens if there isn’t enough local to support?
The conversation around “in-person” versus “hybrid” versus “virtual” continues; I feel like the lines are drawn and everyone has chosen their camp around this back-and-forth prediction and trend. What could impact the decision around conference style, is the absurd and profound increase in AV costs. Trying to host a hybrid event costs almost triple what it would have four years ago…. if we even did that sort of thing back then.
So my LinkedIn post commenter, he hit the nail on the head. Trying to predict what our businesses will look like even 12 months from now may seem impossible.
But I do have to stand my ground on my business plan retreat and its outcomes. It’s so much more than committing to certain projects and revenues, it’s a wholistic look and direction for my career. Maybe by the end of next year, it won’t be an exact science as to how all my revenues came in, but I want to ensure I set my intentions, and then give my attention to my intentions. Business planning is about creating movement forward. Things can flex and change, and the direction of that movement may change, but at least I’m in motion.
So yes, my fellow goal-setting detractors, I set goals for 2023, 2024 and into 2027. I can’t control what the industry will do tomorrow, but I can control the next step I take towards a certain project. I can control what education I need and skills I want to add to my arsenal. I can control my industry connections and relationships, by nurturing them carefully, and inviting new and exciting people into my network. I’m guided by an overall mission statement, and the activities I do today may look different than the activities I do next September due to industry flux, but my eye is on the target. My mission is clear. How I deliver on the mission may change. If it weren’t for my business plan retreat and putting pen-to-paper on the projects I want to deliver, I wouldn’t be in motion for when things change.
If you feel goal-setting is not a good use of your time based on the flex and change in your career, then at least to yourself this favour. Craft your mission statement. Do one thing today that is in alignment with that mission. Wake up tomorrow, and do one more thing. Compound your activities, and when the change does come, you’ll be in a much better position to pivot yet again around the next challenge you face.
To your success in 2023,
Leanne Calderwood, CMP, is a branding and LinkedIn trainer for the meetings, events, and hospitality industry. She believes our industry is built on experiences, and that experience should start with our professionals.
She serves hospitality professionals and teams through her online courses and consulting services to help guide #eventprofs out of the shadows and into the spotlight using their branding strengths and stories.
When she’s not talking shop, you can find Leanne drinking tea, making jam, and gardening at her home in Kelowna, B.C. with her husband, two teenage sons, and her dog, Farls Barkley.
You can learn more about Leanne over on her blog at www.leannecalderwood.com