Two mice and two small people can probably help us, or can they?
International borders have reopened, even WA is reconnecting to the mainland despite them now having increasing cases (seems he is now OK spreading the love to the East), QR codes being dropped, masks being relaxed, density limits dropped, a singing Queensland Premier who seems to have received the memo and stayed on track.
If you are in events you would have to be thinking we are on our way back, but are we?
The federal election due in May, and based on previous form, many businesses will delay decisions and spending from now until the election. Then, depending on the outcome of the election, they will determine when we get going again and on what level. This could, and will unfortunately, likely be like a mini covid lock down effect, and whilst it’s all well and good to maybe ignore some of the realities I personally don’t believe the industry can afford this time to do so.
The other factor playing out are the shows that were postponed or cancelled in February, March and April, with some who panicked around expos even later this year. For some it will mean three years before they come back, so it does raise who says they will go ahead and what size will they be as some sectors will have changed based on whether they survived and how they redirected their funds.
I table this as someone who has been positive and didn’t give up the fight and believes it would be naive if everyone thinks we are back to normal. In my view we are a long way off normal. We just seem to be catching up with things happening and excusing everything else around that.
Recently BECA announced a new CEO, EEAA announced an interim ex board member as their CEO, and the new CEO at MEA seems to want to link every release they send out to a song. Yet they are singing to a collective song book, one that details a plan to how as a united industry we will return, and if they do have the song they haven’t released the plan!
It’s great that some are releasing new dates for a member’s conference and mentor programmes but what do we really need if the impact of the federal election will be felt until May?
This week saw a release with industry representatives and the Victorian Minister for Major Events talking about event support. If that support follows the Federal program then god help us, but let’s urge on the positive side! The reality after two years is surely the representative bodies can, through their representative boards and members, internalise and accept they have done a very poor job during the past two years and NOW is the time to stand up, stop the talk and photo opportunities and deliver a plan.
A strategic plan, a communications plan, a plan to lobby governments, a plan that every business would have but the associations don’t seem to, and again if they have why are they not sharing it? Despite Special Events investigation of the Business Events Grants Scheme none seem to have picked up that there is a LARGE pool of unused money slated to return to “general revenue”. How can we get our hands on it to benefit the sector! This should be part of the plan, and as there is an election coming up it should be a great opportunity.
A plan for how we attract people back to the sector and assure them we are not broken, because staffing is still the biggest and will be the longer ongoing problem across all aspects of what we do. This should be one of three major priorities.
A way forward that acknowledges all the companies that have sacrificed and hung in, we don’t need platitudes and love fest conferences (which really are only about extra income for the associations. I still shake my head at the united EEAA and MEA Christmas party). Has any of them really asked the sector they represent what they need most? And not just members, some companies haven’t renewed as they would rather have staff employed than throw money at a body who deserted them when they needed it most, so have they really asked? I don’t believe so. Some, especially those who sit on the boards or those who have not done anything will see my comments as an attack on the three groups/associations, maybe it is or maybe it’s just a voice calling it out for what it is and that I believe the broader industry is more across than some believe, associations have a choice, show the plans if you have them as there are numerous industry newsletters that can run editorial as the news of a “plan” is worth celebrating and calling from the roof tops!
So it brings me back to what two mice and two little people have to do with this story?
It’s from a book titled Who moved my Cheese? And whilst small in size and large in type, this book is something every event person should read and buy multiple copies to share amongst their staff, this spend is worth it more than an association membership.
It tackles :
- change – that change happens
- anticipate change
- the consequences around not changing
- adapt to change
- the celebration if you do change
- be ready to change quickly and enjoy it again & again
Most people I talk to accept the need to change. Whether they have or are yet to play out, I hope we all do – as LIVE is good.
If the representative bodies don’t have a detailed plan today – it’s too late. The show cycle has begun and companies won’t have time for talk fests and spin, we don’t need a club or see funds being used to support a mythical representative body that does nothing, as we know from the last two years, talk is cheap, action is everything.
So where is the plan?