July 31, 2017 by Jeff Hurt
As a conference organizer, how purpose-driven are you?
Successful conference organizers are purpose-driven! They grow into purpose leaders that influence others with a shared vision and purpose.
They evolve into meaning-machines. They design conference experiences that become meaning-making opportunities for their participants. And they make their planning teams’ work important. Not clichéd or trivial. Critically important to their customers’ needs.
(Hat tips Dr. Henry Cloud’s Integrity; Will Mancini’s Auxano Vision Room; Joe Rriman’s The Story Of Purpose; and VitalSmarts Influencer: The New Science Of Leading Change.)
Purpose-driven conference organizers make their participants’ conference experience significant! Transformative! Not banal! Not transactional!
They encourage their conference participants to shift their mental models from what keeps them up at night to what gets them up in the morning!
These purpose-driven conference organizers are hope and dream dealers. They nurture large thinking, big ideas and calculated risky adventures. They know this is the only way to help participants change attitudes, behaviors, and skills. And they know that they must think large if they are going to affect the world at large.
Your conference’s purpose should align with your organization’s purpose. As well as your organization’s strategy.
What makes your conference distinctive? What guides you to uncover your organization’s foundation that makes your competitors unable to replicate or reproduce your conference experience?
Nothing precedes purpose. Successful conference organizers lead with this question, “Why?”
Until you and your conference planning team can answer this question, you lack direction, motivation and a strategic foundation.
And, the why question is not answered once and put on a shelf to collect dust. It must be revisited often.
Purpose is not a task to be checked off in your to-do list. It is a driving force. It is your lens. It is an every day, every way commitment that ultimately communicates your conference’s charge (paraphrase Mancini).
To paraphrase Kare Anderson, “The stronger the signal you send yourself and others on your conference’s higher purpose, the more likely you are to notice ways to serve it.”
Traditional meeting and conference professionals use a yardstick to measure how much ground their conference and organization has lost or won. They deal with attendance numbers, satisfaction scores, numbers of exhibitors and sponsors and the number of education offerings. These meeting professionals drift with tides and rarely lead. They focus on task lists and efficiency.
Purpose-driven meeting professionals use a compass to ensure that their conference planning and experience design aligns with strategic direction. They help their conference participants adapt and steer their futures. They focus on effectiveness and participants.
William Burke, COO of Newell Rubbermaid, has developed an inventory of tools to lead with purpose. (Source: The Story Of Purpose). Consider these and how you’d apply them to your purpose-driven conference planning.
Is your conference purpose driving your volunteer and staff decision making? Does it steer your communications?
What are your conference’s values? Do you even have any? How do they align with your organizational value?
What have you done to develop leadership that understands conference audience, purpose and strategic alignment? How have you mobilized both volunteer and staff conference team and committee members?
How are you creating conference and organizational alignment? How does the conference’s purpose align with the overarching organizational strategy?
How are you measuring if your purpose aligns with your target market’s needs? Does your attendee experience measure up to your conference purpose?
What do you do to make sure that your conference purpose is front and center? What other purpose-driven tools do you have in your toolbox?
Filed Under: Event Planning
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