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The story that follows is a tidbit about being a boss and you’ll see how this relates to event and meeting production and management. .

You have probably discovered that once you become the boss, it's harder to know what's going on below you. It's a problem. No matter how good your plans are, they won't succeed unless you know they are being executed, as they should be.

Managers at every level have discovered this. To see how things are progressing, they may take unusual steps.

Consider the action of Arkadi Kuhlman, CEO of Internet bank ING Direct USA. Kuhlman traded his spacious office for a table in a huge room where his call center staff was working. His presence energized the staff and kept him close to customer issues.

According to Business Week, he walks by about a dozen customer service reps on his way to and from his desk, which gives him a chance to give pep talks and advice. It's especially important since ING Direct took over the customers of another Internet bank.

Other CEOs spend hours talking with employees and managers. They develop an atmosphere of mutual trust where they can ask such questions as: What am I doing wrong? What would you do differently? What's getting in the way of you doing your job well?

One CEO says he knows he has to say, "You did the right thing to speak up." He says it because he knows employees are afraid they'll get blamed if they say anything negative.

Organizational psychologists say bosses often avoid learning what their people are thinking and doing. Instead of surrounding themselves with people who think as they do, they should talk to people with different points of view.

Managers who want accurate information spend time in the field to find out how their strategies are working. Away from the workplace, employees are willing to talk about problems.

I bet that now you’re wondering, how does this relate to events and meetings. It does if you think differently. That’s the key.  Kuhlman thought differently and did something completely different as a manager and CEO. He was there with his employees rather than being set apart in an office out of reach and out of touch of everyone.


Can you think differently about your approach to planning, producing or managing events and meetings?  Part of the trick to engage attendees is to do things differently. This doesn’t mean, though, that you would not think, strategize, and plan very carefully. SIt down with your team and let them help strategize something different. SIt down with your client, too. To think differently and succeed can be extremely rewarding for you and for your audience.

Get involved with the planning early, think about what you could do differently than in other meetings or events, Be sure that it makes sense, has potential results far greater than previously. Work through every angle of this different way, do a SWOT Analysis, to avoid things that could hamper a potentially “WOW” event. Make alternative plans that will allow a problem not to interfere or take away from your production, or at least not cause it to fall apart.