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June 25 2013

5 Quotes for Meeting Professionals to Live By

By David McMillin, Staff Writer



At the opening day of the PCMA Education Conference in Denver, Jason Jennings, an authority on leadership, growth and innovation whose books have appeared on the bestseller lists of the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today, offered more than an hour worth of fuel for meeting professionals who are looking to reach new levels of success.

Throughout his research, Jennings and his team have studied more than 45,000 companies, interviewed more than 11,000 CEOs and owners and produced more than 500,000 pages of interview transcripts. Here are five unforgettable quotes from all that data.

1) “Whatever got you to where you are is not going to get you to where you want to go.”

So you’ve managed to increase your attendance, sell more room nights or increase your profits? Don’t get too comfortable. Jennings highlighted that the most successful leaders recognize that a constant process of reinvention is crucial toward keeping your organization relevant, your employees inspired and your bottom line growing.

This means that risk-taking is an essential piece of the puzzle. If your attendees or your customers see you constantly approaching the world in the same way, they’ll start to get bored - - fast.

2) “The right culture is the only competitive advantage that you’ll ever have.”

Whatever you do, chances are you’re going to have a competitor that figures out how to do it better or cheaper. However, no outside force can change the culture you create within your organization. The right culture can help you hire and retain the right employees, inspire a strong sense of loyalty among your customers or members and form lasting bonds with partners and vendors.

3) “The most common thing about common sense is how uncommon common sense is.”

Oftentimes, the answer is right in front of you, but it almost seems too easy. Don’t be afraid to look at the challenges ahead of your organization or your meeting, and offer a common-sense approach to solving them.

4) “There has to be a commitment to failing fast.”

This is a tough one to swallow in the meetings industry. Putting new ideas into motion often requires lengthy approval processes. However, Jennings highlighted that successful companies are willing to brainstorm new ideas and immediately put them to the test. In fact, he highlighted a company you may be holding in your hand right now: Starbucks.

When CEO Howard Schultz stepped down, Starbucks went through an eight-year revenue decline that had plenty of people believing that coffee was no longer cool. However, Schultz returned to the position and made a commitment to trying - and failing - at plenty of new initiatives. From unveiling new store designs to offering free Wi-Fi to accepting mobile payments from customers, Starbucks went on a 15-month blitz of testing new ideas.

That blitz paid off - - big time. When Schultz returned, one share of Starbucks stock was valued around $19. Today, it’s trading in the $65 range.

5) “Knowledge is not power. Execution is power.”

Information alone isn’t enough - - it’s what you do with that information that fuels success. Jennings highlighted that the real ability to reinvent yourself, your company or your meeting lies with your ability to take what you know and actually put it in action. As you collect data about your customers or members, make sure you’re thinking about how to put all that knowledge to work.

Catch Jason Jennings' session during the PCMA Education Conference rebroadcast on July 17. Register now

1 Comment

  1. 1 MaryAnne Bobrow, CAE, CMP, CMM, CHE 26 Jun
    This was far and away one of THE BEST keynotes I have seen in a very long time.  Witty, engaging, and with key messages and takeways that could readily be acted upon once one returned to the workplace.  The Convene Live session immediately following the keynote was equally good.  Barbara Palmer has a way of bringing the best out of a speaker, although Jason Jennings is such a high energy presenter, he didn't need much prompting! 

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