I went to a fabulous session on how to increase communication and collaboration to both bring innovation to the meeting planning/content building/marketing process, and to make the process work much more smoothly than it all-too-often does, especially for associations that tend to keep their planning, education, and marketing departments in separate silos. Session leaders Lisa Block with the Society for Human Resource Management, Charlie Jones, Heart Rhythm Society, and Janine Pesci, Gensler Architects, were all excellent in showing how it can work from the planning, marketing, and education perspectives (respectively).
No time to go into huge details, but here are a few key takeaways. From Lisa:
-everyone has a responsibility to collaborate
-build on small successes
-key into specific values in your organization's culture
-build interdepartmental teams, with members who have true buy-in from their respective bosses to put the time and energy needed into the process
-planners need to relinquish some of their inner control freak to let others have ownership in the process
-develop key relationships that will let you feel ok, if not great, about relinquishing said control
-Establish credibility with other team members to build trust and respect
-no one gets anywhere alone. Our successes and our failures are a result of collaboration. Help others succeed and your own success will follow.
-Make creativity fun, even if it means doing hokey teambuilding activities. You may hate them, but they do work.
-everyone has ideas, and they should share them through visioning sessions that bring all types of voices to the table (she also stressed the vital importance of having interdisciplinary teams and the buy-in from leadership and the organizational culture to make these teams function well)
-honor all talents and contributions
-provide easy access to idea sharing through IT, such as an intranet
Great if hokey quote from moderator Gerald Haman,kk SolutionPeople, about teamwork: "We all want to be the stars, but would you rather look at a star or a whole constellation?"
One thing I really liked about this session, format-wise, is that it wasn't your basic moderated panel. The panelists did do some speaking, but a lot of the session was having the audience talk amongst ourselves to come up with our own challenges, solutions, issues, etc. At the end, Gerald had us fill in as many ideas about collaboration as we could in, say, 30 seconds (there was a specific question he asked us to address). Then we passed our sheet to another person to elaborate/expand on the ideas the first person had put down.
He's going to compile them and put them up on the PCMA Web site, but we came up with close to 300 ideas in six minutes. How cool is that?