Saturday, December 15, 2012

For the past three decades, one of the biggest frustrations I have confronted in evaluating organizations and organizational management is what I refer to as "dysfunctional operations." The vast majority of organizations do not learn from their past, and even when they do similar tasks, events, etc., on an ongoing basis, they do not use the previous experiences as a guideline, or at least a starting point in doing the task this time around.

I am constantly shocked, for example, about how poorly most organizations negotiate contracts when they hold meetings, conferences or conventions. Effective organizations create and adapt a R.F.P. (Request for Proposal) that they submit to properties, carefully describing their needs and expectations. Almost as bad, however, is often organizations that believe they are using an R.F.P., but that the R.F.P. that they are using does not adequately meet their needs. Numerous organizational leaders have insisted to me that they use an outside professional company to organize their conferences, or at least to negotiate on their behalf. However, in most cases, these organizations are using professional hotel booking companies, whose interest is in booking the hotel rooms, that they receive a commission on. Organizational leaders have often pointed to the contracts that state that the hotel is offering the best rate to the organization, and that using the booking agent in no way adversely impacts the organization's purchase power or pricing. However, experience and logic both indicate that if a hotel is paying a ten percent commission, that is money that they will not offer the organization in terms of areas such as Food and Beverage, concessions, etc.

Organizations should develop and constantly update a manually that will be used often as a reference to getting things done more effectively. One section of that manual might be a listing of vendors that have been used, reason for using the particular vendor, and whether or not the experience with the vendor has been satisfactory.

Another best practice area would include an Annual Calendar of items that need to be done every year. Organizations should create adequate forms and reporting documents, as needed.

If an organization runs an annual conference, meeting, or convention, an in-depth section should be kept as to the requirements needed, so that each year's organizers do not need to "reinvent the wheel."

If the organization has local chapters, chances are that some chapters are more successful than others, and some projects, meetings and ideas have also been more successful than others. There should be a way that local chapters use a reporting form so that other chapters can learn from both the successes and failures of their peers.

Organizations should also track programs run, and evaluate them in terms of costs (both financial, time and personnel), and revenues. Organizations should regularly review this to determine its future efforts and priorities.


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