It is important not to be afraid to admit that some things may not have worked out quite the way we wanted them to, and seek to change these. It sounds relatively simple, but when you start to dig deeper there are several things that need to happen before you can make changes.
I remember early on in my career I was told by a well-respected Auckland business person that if you embrace change in your late 20s it may well be part of you forever. If there is more change in your 30s, well expect to be in change mode for the rest of your life. There also has to be a willingness to change. If it becomes part of your conversations it becomes more normal to those around you who may be affected by the change. If they hear it spoken about regularly, they too will begin to embrace the changes and not be fearful. Remember, to some change is terrifying.
For me, an important part of the change process is writing about it. When you take the time to write things and review, it often provides real clarity about why, how and, in some instances, what we can do to improve, and where we need to make change.
Within CINZ we complete a documented review on all projects and events undertaken by the team, of which there are many. This process also includes recommended changes for the coming year, and is shared amongst us all. We then pull out the review before we embark on the project the following year. It is a discipline that requires some work and I think as a team we are getting better at it, however there is always room to change!
Another key part of change is looking for the new, getting our eyes up and seeing what others, both within and outside of the industry, are doing. That means reading, talking, and networking, listening and watching. Making time to read the many publications both online and in print is a great first step. This real, clear thinking time cannot be underestimated.
Another part is registering for and programming events into the calendar, both new and old. Financial commitment is a good incentive to attend, and of course RSVPing to an industry event is a strong reason to attend. Who wants to be the no show with the name badge left on the table?
Being out and about at events offers the opportunity to benchmark what we do against an external event. It encourages a critical review of how and what we are doing. Networking allows for sharing ideas, the successful ones and the not-so-successful ones. A great part of attending these events is making notes of the learnings (I do it on my phone) and sharing them quickly with the team. It may just be a small thing that you want to change, but it can be the small things that trigger a bigger area of change.
I have had the fortune to attend two international conferences in recent months, one in Asia and one in the US. I was looking at all aspects, including the venue - were they bringing the outside in, how did I know I was in that city? What was the food like, the theming? What new, innovative ideas did they bring in? I left excited about the opportunities ahead, yet exhausted from both events. My feet were sore and I was tired of networking with people.
My learnings were immense, my eyes were constantly up as I looked to find some small elements that I could bring home to share with the team and make some changes to what we do. Whilst we can never compete or have the budget to have Peter Frampton and Little Big Town at our final party, the lights in the plenary in the shape of a guitar, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban to give us a personalised video welcome, a bar that is stocked with JD not wine and be greeted with “how y’all doing” at every turn (yes this was Nashville), there were some real opportunities that I could see and bring back to New Zealand to change up what we do.
So month one of 2018 and my New Year resolution – change – is still with me and I am happily talking about it. As an industry we need to be ready for some serious change as our new venues come on line. The opportunities they bring to Auckland and Christchurch and regional New Zealand are immense and they will drive some real change in the way businesses operate.
Good luck in 2018 and I look forward to talking to you about the changes being made in what we do at CINZ.