Times they are a’chang­ing

Peter Gray, an in­de­pen­dent Mo­ti­va­tion Con­sul­tant, presents a reg­u­lar Busi­ness Events News feature on cur­rent issues in the Con­fer­ence and In­cen­tive in­dus­tries.

Business Events News - - News -

I CON­SIDER my­self for­tu­nate to have a young daughter who en­ables me to ex­pe­ri­ence a part of life I thought I had left long be­hind me. It seems these days that tele­vi­sion pro­grams move very quickly from Peppa Pig to bat­tles for world dom­i­na­tion, with­out any­thing in between. In the world of so-called dig­i­tal en­ter­tain­ment this is true too, with some 90% of pro­grams for Xbox, for ex­am­ple, be­ing mainly con­cerned with killing and maim­ing which, frankly, I can’t see as be­ing rel­e­vant to kids.

So too, in the in­cen­tive in­dus­try we have moved from prac­ti­tion­ers whose main pur­pose was in pro­vid­ing a thor­oughly pro­fes­sional ap­proach to their clients’ needs to a very much dog-eat-dog in­dus­try where profit mar­gins are be­ing sac­ri­ficed and the pres­sure on sup­pli­ers to do the same is be­com­ing the norm.

Soft­ware is avail­able that re­duces com­pil­ing a pro­posal for a con­fer­ence or in­cen­tive re­ward al­most to a but­ton-push­ing ex­er­cise. Lists of ho­tels and venues in a given des­ti­na­tion can be down­loaded and an RFP sent all of them in just about the blink of an eye. Gone is the need for per­sonal re­la­tion­ships with sup­pli­ers and the cre­ativ­ity that used to be pro­vided not so much as a mat­ter of course but of pride.

Speed these days is the name of the game and cutting mar­gins is, it seems, the way to go.

Prior to em­i­grat­ing to Aus­tralia I was pur­su­ing a sim­i­lar ca­reer in the UK. In the 10 or so years I was in the con­fer­ence and in­cen­tive in­dus­tries there I never had a con­tract with any of my clients and those clients ranged from blue-chip to one­man-bands. Ev­ery­thing was agreed upon with a hand­shake - “dic­tum meum pactum” - my word is my bond (motto of the London Stock Ex­change). I also never had any com­plaints. My company was pleased to go the ex­tra dis­tance to en­sure our clients’ com­plete sat­is­fac­tion and gen­er­ally at no ad­di­tional cost to them.

That would never be pos­si­ble these days. Ev­ery­thing has to be spelled out in multi-page con­tracts which are care­fully mon­i­tored to en­sure that ev­ery­thing promised is in­deed pro­vided. Yes, there are still PCOs and in­cen­tive prac­ti­tion­ers, who do take great pride in their work and who do pro­vide a very high level of ser­vice but it would ap­pear that this is the ex­cep­tion rather than the rule.

That stan­dards within our in­dus­try are di­min­ish­ing is all too ob­vi­ous. Some of this is brought about by changes in work­ing prac­tices such as in­tro­duc­tion of new soft­ware prod­ucts but many of the cuts and changes that we see are brought about by the sup­posed need to make more money.

Per­haps the motto of the London Stock Ex­change has been su­per­seded by that of fic­ti­tious in­vest­ment banker Gor­don Gekko: Greed is good!

Peter Gray is an in­de­pen­dent, Ac­cred­ited In­cen­tive Prac­ti­tioner and mo­ti­va­tion con­sul­tant. He can be con­tacted at peter.gray@mo­ti­vat­ing­peo­ple.net

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