In organizations, sometimes things thrive; sometimes they falter. When things go wrong, how can we turn the story around and create the positive connections for success?
I’m asking these questions today as I review the biggest “fail” (for me) at the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) conference. In line with my policy not to post negative stuff about individuals or organizations in this blog, I’m somewhat limited in what I can say here — except to address the areas which involve some self-criticism. (It is okay for me to say negative things about myself here, of course.)
In this instance, senior board members/executive and staff of SMPS invited me and a couple of others attending the conference with knowledge of the issue involved to a special breakfast meeting yesterday. I received one of those computer-generated emails and plugged in the appointed time: 9:00 a.m. Showing up at the time set for the meeting, I discovered it had really been scheduled for 8 to 8:30 — logically, because the actual conference plenary session had been scheduled for 9. Just a little checking of the conference schedule should have told me quickly that the computer-generated time could not be right.
We ended up having a brief, informal and incomplete meeting at the day’s end. Frankly, we didn’t have enough participants to really solve the issue — the most important players in the story, it seems, are virtually impossible to find. I will follow up, work on the challenge, see if we can re-establish a critical mass and then restart the initiative. But I’m not getting my hopes too high because, in my opinion, the passion to pull off the revitalization needs to come from others in a better position to assume a leadership role.
Within the limitations of my ability to be direct and obvious in this blog, a real problem that may have caused the difficulties we are experiencing is cliquishness, where there is a clear “in group” and outsiders simply cannot get involved. The ironical converse story here of course is that a lot can be said for developing close, intense and somewhat private relationships. If you can position yourself as an insider, of course, you have a genuine business and marketing edge.
Nevertheless, we’ll follow-up, persist, seek a creative resolution and achieve the restoration that is possible with effort and teamwork. The slip-up never needs to be the final story.