What Change Are You Trying to Make In People?

Notes from Seth Godin by Lauren Manning

Seth Godin spoke last month at CreativeMornings, a monthly lecture series in New York, about the way you view your work. He said that everyone (including your boss) is a client, and that you should ask yourself, “What change am I trying to make in the people I work with?”

So then, let’s talk about meetings and events, because Godin does in his talk. He brings up technology and the ubiquitous connections available to everyone.

We’re in the connection economy, and connection creates value.

Meeting and event planners often want a quick elevator pitch to define their professions. What Godin just said is the best job summation I’ve heard in my 10 years in the industry. You don’t need any more than that. If you’re a meeting planner and someone asks you what you do, then recognize that you’re being asked the wrong question. Correct it by saying why you do what you do. It’s part of the perception change you’re trying to make in people.

What’s important is, did it make a change happen? Did it make someone cry? Did it save a life? Did it connect two people in a way they wouldn’t have been connected?

Godin’s main point is that you bring value to the world. You’re the master of your own fate, because of the connections that technology offers.

Everyone owns a media company if you want to. If you want to put on an event and have 500 people come, you can. If you want to write something online and have a million people read it, you can. If you want to be in the connection business, you can. This is really bad news for people who are insisting on being picked, because you’re not going to get picked.

I agree with Godin. Too often, people sit around and wait for someone else to handle a challenge. For example, when the mainstream press writes about the meeting and event industry in a negative light, the first thing heard from planners is, “What is my association doing about this?”

Your association, I’m sure, is doing something about it, but you have to remember that most large associations are just that: large and cumbersome. By the time they get around to addressing a challenge, a new one has popped up. Individuals, though, can address challenges much quicker by going back to that question, “What change am I trying to make in the people I work with?” (In this instance, the people you work with are reporters.)

Godin concludes his talk with a story about the 1927 Solvay Conference. Seventeen Nobel Prize in Physics winners attended the conference. However, most of them won the prize after 1927.

The person who organized the conference didn’t just go down the list of Nobel Prize winners. What he did was he created a platform and expectations. And when you went to that conference, you looked around and said, “Wow, I need to raise my bar.” Then you looked around and you said, “There is potential here because some of these people aren’t even as smart as me, and if I push myself even harder, there’s a lot of open territory ahead.”

There is a lot of open territory ahead. The question is, are you going to take responsibility for your own destiny?

(Image via Flickr: Lauren Manning/Creative Commons.)

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