'Transparency Leads to Collaboration'
By Dan Tavrytzky
There's an old saying that "Knowledge is Power." While knowledge is important, I would add that "Collaboration is Power", and one of the ways to garner collaboration and shared learning in the Meetings & Events industry, is for suppliers and planners to have transparency in their communication. To give us some context, the word transparency, as used in science, business and other social contexts, implies openness, communication and accountability. Transparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed.
Transparency can begin with the planner's RFP, providing the suppliers the key elements to their program, including decision influencers, budget, history, hot buttons, competition, past success and failures, etc. In turn, it's fair that suppliers provide the planner with what's important to their business and what parameters they must operate within in order to meet the client's needs. Current workload, incoming programs and team changes are all important elements that, while sometimes not ideal, are essential talking points with every client at the beginning of a program discussion. We all love to shop and find that special, expensive item at a bargain price. In our business, that is sometimes possible (a special venue that happens to be dark during the planner's program dates can provide an example of that bargain price). Unfortunately, at times it's not possible due to high demand, and it's important that suppliers share this information so that clients understand the supply/demand parameters in a destination during a given time. The key is to communicate the expectations and become partners in meeting those goals.
Collaboration and transparency shouldn't end when a piece of business is won – in fact, it becomes even more essential to developing a lasting relationship with a client as the program development continues. Too often there is a fear to share potential hiccups or issues with a client for fear of looking disorganized or inexperienced. When in fact, this open communication is exactly what is going to create a strong relationship with a client – that level of trust needs to be earned, and sharing from the beginning shows that a supplier feels part of the client's team, with the ultimate goal being a successful program. With collaboration and transparency, a trusting relationship is accomplished. Working with people we care about and trust is what makes a loyal partnership, and ultimately leads to success for everyone.
Transparency Leads to Collaboration
By Dan Tavrytzky
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