Plan Perform Score June 2007
Welcome to Plan-Perform-Score! These Insight Bites focus on ideas, thoughts, and tools to alter perspective and improve performance.
Annual Management Conference
Does it seem like you are constantly putting out fires at your regular meetings and accomplishing relatively little constructive analysis, planning or goal setting? If so, consider the benefits of an annual Management Conference devoted entirely to those topics that never seem to get adequate coverage at meetings during the year, such as the direction, goals and philosophy of your organization. The benefits of such a conference (both organizational and personal) may surprise you. Since such conferences are costly in time and dollars, thought and care should go into their development.
Do hold the conference at a location and setting remote from your business. A cabin in the woods, or a lodge in the mountains are some suggestions. The intent is to remove everyone from the environmental atmosphere of the daily routine.
Do prepare in advance a carefully thought-out agenda for the conference. This will assist you in giving adequate coverage to the various areas of concern and provide a suitable control mechanism for the conference.
Do assign responsibility for the agenda areas to the various participants. Let them individually screen the subject areas first so that the conference can direct full attention to the “real meat” of the issues.
Do have outlines of each program prepared to be taken away by participants for future reference.
Do conduct the conference in an informal atmosphere. Both dress and conference structure should allow the participants comfort and relaxation. Remember that sessions can sometimes be long and demanding and the informal (non-stuffy) setting can keep the discussion moving and conducive to creative thinking.
Do consider values of technical sessions and recreational periods relative to the goals of the conference.
Do keep the number of conference participants at a realistic figure. Too few may not provide for a stimulating conference, while too many may result in an unwieldy and frustrating session.
Do integrate the policies and goals deriving from the conference (after carefully assessing their relative priority and developing an implementation schedule) into the operations of the company. The conference should result in a more definitive direction for future operations and improve communicative channels in the organization.
Do establish a feedback mechanism for periodically assessing the progress made toward implementing the goals derived from the conference.
Do consider the use of a conference facilitator if that might enhance the interaction and participation of the attendees.
Don’t approach the conference with the mentality that it is just another meeting. A large degree of the success of the conference will depend upon the pre-planning and mental attitude of the individual participants.
Don’t let agenda rigidity destroy the conference. Provide and anticipate enough flexibility in the agenda to allow for discussion of important unscheduled topics. As the conference progresses, if unforeseen subjects arise, the conferees must assess their priority against the scheduled agenda.
Don’t overlook the potential benefits to be derived from the accentuated interpersonal contact of the conference participants. The increased sensitivity to the problems of the “other team members” can do much to strengthen and enhance the organizational climate.
An Annual Management Conference can be a stimulating and dynamic event or a long and painful ordeal. The choice is up to you!
Don’t schedule the conference at the busiest time of the year. The timing of the conference can do much to influence its results, so give its selection the consideration it deserves.
Quote & Note
"A recent government publication on the marketing of cabbage contains, according to one report, 26,941 words. It is noteworthy in this regard that the Gettysburg Address contains a mere 279 words while the Lord's Prayer contains but 67."
This quote reminded me of a sermon from a minister to his flock on a very warm and humid Sunday in a church without the benefit of air conditioning, "if you think it's hot now, just wait."
Be brief and to the point!
Terman's Law of Innovation
If you want a track team to win the high jump, you find one person who can jump seven feet, not seven people who can jump one foot.
Keep this in mind when making key staffing decisions. Teamwork matters but not if you have the wrong players.
As the NFL adage goes "you can't coach speed" and the same applies to hand to eye co-ordination. My harsh reality is, no amount of coaching is going to turn me into a scratch golfer. My best aspiration is to be a below average golfer who scratches. I learned long ago, the words Greg Pashke and jock will never be used in the same paragraph.
Caveat: Hire the person with the skills to do the job! Don't settle, get it right.
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