Why do I work here? And how do I succeed? Important questions indeed.
For me, as it turns out, the answers are simple. Hard to execute, but simple to understand.
The reason for today's particular rant is the result of the latest newletter "Perspectives", from the Northern California Chapter of MPI.
By way of introduction, the Northern California chapter of Meeting Professionals International is the largest chapter in the country. And as you'd suspect, the high quality of the companies located here in San Francisco Bay Area means the level of professionalism of the planners and suppliers around here is extremely high.
Think Apple, Cisco Systems, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Google, Pixar, Oracle, Salesforce. Not to mention The Gap, Wells Fargo, Visa, Charles Schwab, Blue Shield, Genentech, Clorox. And the host of this blog, Typepad. And of course Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and UCSF. And there are more. We have no room for mediocre around here, apparently. (We have room for people to try, and fail, and try again. Recovering from failure is actually considered a credential around here. But we have no room for mediocre.)
Need a job? Like beautiful weather? Wow, come live here. No, no, wait, please don't. The traffic here is already terrible and all the houses cost at least a million bucks. Hey, we're like Paris, without the Eiffel Tower and the haughtiness!
So anyway, the MPI's local chapter magazine is of unusually high quality, and usually makes it to the top of my reading pile, along with the National Speakers Association magazine "Speaker", which I've mentioned in previous posts.
And now, by way of this very long introduction, the article that caught my eye: Raising Your "Return on Energy" by David Gabri.
David, the president and CEO of Associated Luxury Hotels International, suggests a tool to focus yourself on the job. He provides a list of simple questions that can get to the heart of what we are supposed to be doing with our time, in between coffee breaks and commuter traffic.
As I read these very simple questions, I was pleasantly surprised by how simple the answers are, for us here at Keynote.
1. What is the purpose of my job? To book great speakers.
To drill down another level, to book great speakers, who will in turn contribute to great events. To make our clients' lives easier, by making the process as simple and efficient as we can.
2. What are the measures of success? How happy our clients are with the speakers they chose. And, how happy our clients are with the support they received from Keynote.
3. What is considered exceptional performance? Booking even more fantastic speakers, every year. Raising our clients' expectations for our performance, and the performance of those speakers, every year. Every event, every time. Year after year after year.
4. What are the priorities and deadlines? Priorites? Top quality speakers, top quality service from everyone at Keynote. When? At the time when our clients need us, whether that's a year before the event, or the day of the event, or after the speech and the event are long gone.
And all this made me realize why this job is fun, but not easy. It's challenging to have one great event. But it's way more challenging to have every single event be great, every time, so that people can rely on quality as being a constant.
And now, putting all cards out on the table, I tried answering these questions from the point of view of an agent at Keynote. The answers were very simple, but different. Agents, of course, work on commission. So they want their client to have the best possible experience, and one of the reasons for that is: so that the client works with them again for the next event. But they also need what every sales person needs: volume.
So here, again, the questions, and answers from the point of view of a Keynote agent.
1. What is the purpose of my job? To give my clients such a great experience, with me, and with the speakers they select, that they come back and book more speakers with me.
2. What are the measures of success? How happy my client is after the speech, with me and with the speaker. And, how many clients return to me, to use my services to book speakers again and again.
3. What is considered exceptional performance? Booking speakers for the same repeat clients every year, year after year. And adding more clients every year, year after year. And I can only do this by being exceptionally useful to my clients. If I'm not useful, they won't be back.
4. What are the priorities and deadlines? Quality of speaker, service, experience, and results. At the time that the client wants them. In short, everything.
Relatively simple to figure out. Very hard to execute.
We promise, we'll keep trying, every single time, every day.