Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

January 12 2015

Why You’re Missing The Biggest Changes That Will Impact Your Organization

By David McMillin

If someone asked you to predict what your meeting will look like in 2017, chances are that you could take a somewhat successful stab at what your attendees will be doing by the time that two-year deadline arrives. Well, what if that same someone asked you to think about your meeting in 2025? Your prediction might not be so promising.

At the Convening Leaders 2015 opening general session, Andrew Zolli, author of Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back and former curator of PopTech, revealed why so many of us struggle to think about the future in realistic terms.

“We’re not very skilled at long-term forecasting,” Zolli said. “We take the newest fact and make that the dominant piece of the future.”

With that model in mind, it might be easy to say that every attendee will be putting Google Glass over their eyes, that every exhibitor will start delivering their booths via drones or that every catering company will begin providing 3D-printed gluten-free menu items. Those trends could be the wave of the future, but Zolli reminded the audience that some of the important transformations may not be the most talked-about changes.

“We look where we expect to see change,” Zolli added. “We aren’t very good at noticing change that’s happening slowly or change that’s taking place in the background.”

Zolli referenced a quote from respected author Stewart Brand to help meeting professionals and suppliers recognize why coping with change can be so challenging. “The fast-moving trends get the most attention,” Brand said. “The slow-moving trends have most of the power.”

SEE ALSO: 4 Trends That Will Impact Meeting Professionals In 2014

Count On Your Colleagues To Deal With Change

Can you adjust your approach to be ready to spot all the slow-moving trends that will eventually revolutionize the world? Not necessarily. Zolli reminded Convening Leaders attendees that no one can have a plan to deal with every potential shock that might impact their organizations. However, he added that one of the most critical pieces of being able to deal with those shocks and unexpected scenarios relies on the team members who surround you.

Unfortunately, many organizations struggle to instill a feeling of trustworthiness among all employees. As meeting professionals work to design, develop and execute big ideas, creating a culture of trust and compassion within the entire team is an essential ingredient of success.

“We are engineered to look for reasons to trust each other,” Zolli said.

If an organization can establish that sense of trust, it will be better positioned to keep employees sharing information, caring for each other and making sure that big changes do not cause any big problems.

SEE ALSO: Does Your Organization Have Trust Issues?

Catch The Action In Chicago — From Your Computer Screen

 If you are unable to join the meetings industry in Chicago this year, there’s still good news: you can get the next best educational opportunity with the Convening Leaders Hybrid Meeting. Want some even better news? It’s completely free. Click here to register.

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