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The consolidation of a strategic meetings program which seeks to deliver value through reduced spend, risk mitigation and service quality can only be good news to organisations. Christopher Dwyer, Aberdeen Group “….in recent years [SMMP] has evolved into a critical and core component of the average enterprise’s overall business success”. The key to this success however, is in its implementation. For a disciplined approach to managing meetings to benefit an organisation, implementation needs to be equally disciplined.
The overarching barrier to successful implementation of SMMP is an underestimation of the impact on the culture and working practices within an organisation and the subsequent communication of this impact.
The centralisation of a customised strategy will have a profound affect on the day-to-day processes and policies utilised by team members across an organisation. Buy-in of the strategic nature of SMMP, together with a clear understanding of how that will impact policies and processes, are essential in its successful implementation and subsequent long-term success.
It is essential for key stakeholders to be brought in to the planning process early on. SMMP needs to become part of an organisation’s culture - a collective approach to all meetings and events, not simply a more strategic approach to individual events. Gather these stakeholders together and establish an SMMP Implementation team; the team should see itself as the catalyst for cultural change.
Change will be a challenge for some, particularly if current meeting activity is decentralised. SMMP will bring together individuals and teams that may have not worked together before. Open collaboration resulting in the exchange of views and ideas has to be encouraged and can be achieved through training and partnering sessions. Focus groups are a simple way to successfully link together otherwise disparate individuals and teams.
The SMMP culture will focus event planning and delivery processes around one strategic approach. The strategic nature of their purpose must reflect the culture of the organisation and it’s therefore essential that the SMMP strategy is fully aligned with the organisation’s culture. The recognised themes running through the SMMP will provide clarity to their objective and purpose, and in addition will seek to aid acceptance and transition at all levels across the organisation.
It is often the most simple of ideas that can have the maximum impact. Visibility of a centralised approach can be achieved through a master events calendar available to all individuals who are planning and delivering. A central information system will encourage improved stakeholder communication, best practice and avoid duplication.
SMMP process seeks to encourage, ensure and maintain a strategic approach to collectively managing all meetings and events. Successful implementation will be reliant on an open and collaborative approach, supported by establishing robust channels of communication throughout the organisation.