March 1, 2016 by Jeff Hurt
This is the third installment in this three part post on why you should not copy successful conference leaders.
The first post looked at who we follow within the conference and meetings industry. It also established five bear traps to avoid when copying new ideas.
The second post identified three big ole bear traps to avoid. We are all looking for that next fresh big idea that we can implement immediately. Unfortunately, we often step directly into that copying trap and don’t realize it before it’s too late.
Hat tips to Carey Nieuwhof’s Leading Change Without Losing It: Five Strategies That Can Revolutionize How You Lead Change When Facing Opposition. I’ve adapted his thoughts on change, reinvention and and mimicking others success to conference planning and implementation.
Here are the final two bear traps to avoid.
When you copy ideas from other conference leaders and organizations, the change you must make is often at a deeper structure and system level.
Borrowing a promising idea is like wearing someone else’s cool clothes without having them tailored or making sure they fit your body type. It may look great momentarily. Yet you’ve not addressed the underlying issue that you’re out of shape.
Your current conference planning system and structure drives your outcomes.
Most of the time, the conference change you really need to make is a deep, systemic, permanent structure and governance change.
Outdated and poor governance structures along with incongruent systems will restrict your conference growth. If your organization must micro-manage all the conference details, your system and structure stunts its growth.
If you’re not willing to reinvent and reinvest in deeper engrained beliefs, systems and processes for your conference, you’ll never be satisfied with change.
Solution: Most conference changes ultimately mean a systems or governance change.
So many people think they have a grasp of context.
Many conference leaders use context as an excuse for the failure of a new idea. They don’t use context as a frame for deeper explanation.
You can make excuses for failure of fresh ideas. Or you can make progress through deeper understanding and framing of context.
Many conference organizers miss two differing contexts: theirs (the conference leader you’re copying) and yours.
Consider transplanting a tree. If you want it to thrive, you’ve got to identify and match the soil, environment and nutrients from the original location to the new location.
And not all trees can survive everywhere. It’s difficult to get a palm tree to thrive in Minnesota.
Solution: Study the source context for the idea. Is it a business context? What type of attendees do they attract? Do we have the same type of attendees? What makes the conference organizer that I’m studying different from me?
Ineffective conference organizers list a ton of reasons why something won’t work. Great conference organizers find the one reason why a fresh idea will work.
Then you’re ready to adapt that fresh idea for your context.
So what’s your bottom line?
As Nieuwhof learned, when you are going to copy and implement an idea you learned from another successful event, make sure:
A. You fully understand your business model as well as the business model of the idea you’re considering.
B. All these components and ideas work seamlessly with your strategy.
C. You own that fresh idea and are prepared to champion it.
D. You are going to make deep governance structure and systems changes or the new concept will fail.
E. You embrace and understand context as a way to ensure your new ideas thrives!
What’s your biggest takeaway from these three posts on why not to copy someone else’s successful conference micro-event? What assumptions are you making when you try to copy and implement another person’s great idea?
Filed Under: Event Planning
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