Shrinking the globe for 2010 Planning
Now that it's October, 2010 planning is in full force and it's bringing great energy to our account teams and clients. One of our clients, an extremely proactive global PR director, arranged months ago for a 2010 planning meeting of all of the marketing and PR people from around the world so this work could be done as a united team, in the same city and time-zone for once. Although this required scrimping and saving in other areas to cover the expense and time required for this endeavor, getting people from N. America, EMEA and APAC together (their three primary geographies) for 2.5 days in Boston yielded a detailed Q4 global plan as well as a strategic framework for 2010 that was approved by marketing and can now be further localized and socialized within the regions. Well before the end of the month, the 2010 plan will be ready for top management sign-off; actually, the CMO already has sent the preliminary plan drafted this week to the CEO for initial review. It was masterfully done due to the leadership of this client and the effective bonding/teaming of the international team members.
In these days of travel restrictions and tight budgets, it isn't often that we get to work shoulder to shoulder with our international colleagues. It was tremendously enlightening and mind-expanding to talk through our similar needs as well as the specific gaps and requirements of each of our regions. Interestingly, we had more similarities than differences. The follow-up calls will keep this tight team connected and working smoothly as we execute on a global initiative rather than regional initiatives glued together by a corporate strategy. The company will benefit greatly from this approach, as will the individuals who had the good fortune to be part of the meeting.
I've never been a big proponent of large group meetings, as so often they can waste time and require so much disruption of business for travel. However, this meeting was one of the most productive ones I have been part of in a long time. The efficiency of the plan development and the benefits of the global teaming will far outweigh the costs and business disruption it required. I polled our colleagues from Asia Pacific who are enduring 30-hour trips each way for this meeting and they agree on the ultimate value. Social media, online connections and even video conferencing are great tools for staying connected. But there really is no better way to shrink the globe and build strong teams and create united global plans than to do it the old-fashioned way, face-to-face.