Last month in the Industry Insider I wrote about our “duty of care” and how a mistake can result both in a publicity disaster and a genuine service failure and a loss of customers’ trust. I received a lot of feedback and had some great discussions around those topics.
One of the things I quickly realized from the conversations is that all of us perceive input through our own set of “filters” that helps us make new information fit into our view of the world. We select some ideas as relevant (and ignore others) and process information based on our own understanding. I think many of the situations that created such negative publicity for the airline industry recently have occurred not because their staff didn’t care about their customers but because they were trained to carry out their duties and follow company policy which made them blind to the way others would view their actions.
Before I was involved in the meetings and incentive industry, I worked in retail and procurement. After that, my first 13 years as a corporate planner meant that I was part of the marketing teams at both Tupperware and Bombardier Aerospace. My background meant that even as a third party planner, I always asked what the purpose and expected outcomes were for the events that I planned. My filters make me see events as drivers of business results. It also meant that I was an early proponent of SMM (strategic meetings management), and managed both corporate travel and events at Bombardier to drive efficiencies and enhance revenue.
A good friend, Alice Parnis, is probably one of the most creative people I know. She also has a background in retail, but she was involved in the fashion industry before coming to events. I think Alice’s strength is envisioning the look and feel of an event and then bringing together all of the elements necessary to create the desired feeling. Alice’s filters allow her to focus on the emotional outcomes she and her clients want to achieve.
Filters are not bad; in fact, they can be very useful. But you need to recognize the situations where your filters may limit your view of the world or not allow you to perceive opportunities for improvement. I am very lucky that I work daily with a team of individuals who all bring their own strengths to our group. Team meetings and discussions can allow us to see things from different perspectives and expose us to ways of thinking that are different from our own.
Meetings and events can give attendees one of the best opportunities to share ideas and develop new ways of thinking. Just look at the famous C2 Montreal, a three-day immerse event that boasts it can “transform the way you do business” by bringing together business leaders and creative minds to explore trends and disruptions.
I hope you get to work with a team regularly. Don’t forget to use your partners and suppliers as extensions of your team. Together, you will expand your filters and create outstanding events.
– Les Selby is the director of Meetings & Events for One10 Canada. He has been a corporate, independent, and third party event professional for over 27 years. Les has earned both his Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation and his Global Certification in Meeting Management (CMM). Inducted into Meeting + Incentive Travel Magazine’s Industry Hall of Fame in 2009, he is an active member of Meeting Professionals International (MPI). He served on the Toronto chapter’s Board, was the 2000-2001 chapter president, and is currently a member of the MPI Foundation Canadian Council. In 1997, Les was recognized as Planner of the Year by the MPI Toronto chapter, and received the President’s Award for 2009. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org