Government Connections - Fall 2011 - (Page 29)
Can You Think in Reverse?
By Ted Miller, CHME, CHSP, CGTP
ONE OF THE major frustrations I hear from government planners is the lack of knowledge on the part of their superiors in terms of what it takes to organize a conference. Each of us must learn how to “manage up.” Showing how you must think in reverse can reveal your ability to organize, plan and effectively execute this type of project. So, let’s set up a reverse time line and establish critical points during which decisions will be required and commitments must be made. Starting from the actual date of the event, list by category each item that must be completed and the lead time required for each. At this point, when you are assembling a master list of components for the conference, it is important to group each item by type, such as printing or audio visual, as well as who the speakers will be and whether they are internal staff or external people who must be hired. Once that is complete, create a list of items that require another item to be completed first, such as printed items that require the topic information to be supplied by each speaker. The next step is to list who is responsible for each task, such as a senior member of your staff who must approve the speakers and the materials that will be presented. As you keep adding to this one area, develop a timeline of when each part must be completed; that will give you the date at which you must start. Do this for each part of the conference and make a master reverse calendar. This is now your bible, and you need to keep the faith. Now you are ready to start “managing up.” This is a good time to schedule a planning meeting. Invite all of the key players who are responsible for major parts of the agenda. Suggest to certain people that they invite other key members of their staffs who will actually be doing specific tasks or who need to be aware of the assignments for
their departments to determine whether additional resources will be required. It is very important that when you present this information, you stress how each individual is reliant on the actions of others, along with the consequences if due dates are missed and how that would affect the success of the conference. Once you have everyone in agreement, set regular review dates for the key personnel involved. Having each of them present during each of these review dates will create peer pressure for those who may not be as organized or committed, and will push them to complete their portions of the event. As you continue to move to the date of the event, your level of organization and management will be quite evident to everyone involved. After the conference has been held, have an internal postconference evaluation. The purpose of this is not only to judge how everyone performed, but to help you and your staff to determine what changes to make in the future. An additional benefit of this process is that you will have developed an organization composed of a group of colleagues who now understand what is required to execute an event; they can be called upon again or perhaps show you where you need new or additional talent. This basic outline can be enhanced when you call upon the knowledge of another member of the chapter. We have many members with very different backgrounds who can help you with specific items and act as mentors. Our biggest advantage as an organization is our knowledge, and when you use the resources of the organization, you help all of us to grow professionally. G
Ted Miller is a supplier member of the National Capital chapter.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Government Connections - Fall 2011
Travel Tips & Trends
Good to Know
Dieting on a Per Diem
Can You Think in Reverse?
Food and Beverage
U.S. Flag Protocol
The Meeting Minute
Government Connections - Fall 2011