I’ve been in many discussions over the years regarding what it really means in our industry to be “strategic.” We use terms like strategic meetings management, strategy by meeting type and strategic sourcing, and we are always trying to approach our roles “strategically.” So what does all of that really mean anyway? Is being strategic a character trait? Is it a mission statement? A plan of action, or a destination?
Here is my question for you: do you have a strategy for being strategic?
Websters.com tells us that strategic is an adjective meaning “important in or essential to strategy,” “crucial” and “urgently important.” Strategy is defined in several ways related to war, but here is the definition that suits us best: “a plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result: a strategy for getting ahead in the world.”
When you think about the role you play within your organization (meeting manager, travel professional, sourcing specialist, others), do you approach it with a strategy in mind? In terms of meeting planning, there is a goal to be strategic in the execution of meetings and events; I think one of the clearest ways to demonstrate this is via the objectives set for each program. From an enterprise level, the stakes are higher and the scope is broader – which requires a series of objectives and an overarching plan. But being strategic does not have to be complicated or difficult – it just requires that one important thing: a strategy.
As you think about your current strategic meetings management program, what is your strategy – your plan – for being truly strategic? Do you have goals so you can measure success? Take the time to sit down and draw out a plan for your meetings management program, one that includes a meeting policy, processes to support that policy, and a clear vision for what success will look like. Look for successful programs to use as models, and reach out to your network to see who can help you reach your goals. Find out where you want to be in six months, a year, even five years down the road. But make sure your strategy includes a definition of success. Because without it, how will you ever know you’ve achieved it?
Remember: being strategic requires a strategy!