As the head of a five-sport household (my sons play hockey, basketball, lacrosse, soccer and golf) I’ve seen it all when it comes to the ups and downs of a successful youth sports coach.
The coaches who stand out most and the ones my sons gain immense value from are those who help their young players learn the ins and outs of playing “the long game” — encouraging long-term skill development, stressing the importance of lasting relationships with teammates, showing how to play with integrity — while still chasing those satisfying shorter term game day wins, too.
These lessons aren’t limited to the putting green, lacrosse field, or hockey rink. With our industry ready for rapid growth and recovery, something I know many of us are thrilled to see after the past two years, it’s crucial that we learn to do the same and can balance the long game with the short.
Having sat on both sides of the events table as a planner and now as a member of the DMC Network HQ team, I’m eagerly stepping into a temporary “coach” role myself, with a few thoughts on how DMC partners can work with clients to secure short-term wins as business returns in full force, while also laying a solid foundation for long-term success.
First, while it’s tempting to start with the short-term, do what you can to avoid that temptation. Go back to best practices as a DMC partner: I encourage planners to look ahead in their events cycle with their DMC partner beside them, to ensure availability of dates, staff, and inventories.
Second, planners and suppliers are all currently working at a rapid-fire pace, forcing us into more reactive planning processes. Let’s instead look for opportunities to shift toward more proactive ways of working, with an emphasis on long-term strategies and business tools to support them (e.g., master service agreements, working with companies that offer access to multiple destinations like the DMC Network).
Finally, we all need to engage in transparent conversations as true partners. These conversations can start with clear and concise discussions about what is key in the bidding/proposal process. In this current climate with in-person meetings returning, work with your partner(s) to identify the most vital elements when pulling together proposals, as well as preferred proposal formats, so you can deliver win-win experiences.
I want to re-emphasize “transparency” as an integral element to these conversations. Both planners and DMC partners need to maintain open, ongoing dialogues about timelines and deliverables, and be open about balancing the deadlines a firm is expecting with the DMC partner’s current operations capabilities and business demands.
We know that COVID-19 changed the rules of the game, so it’s critical that we keep up as an industry. Now is an excellent time to not just chase those satisfying short-term wins, but to rethink and reformulate our longer term strategies as well. Doing so will allow all of us to work cohesively and collaboratively to deliver amazingly successful events — a slam dunk of an achievement, I think we’d all agree!
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