I have a brother-in-law that went to West Point and two nieces that attend Annapolis. It’s a family affair. It’s Army vs. Navy. And it’s one of the oldest rivalries in the U.S.
It’s a fierce rivalry—something you would know if you’ve ever attended or tuned into the Army/Navy football game. Passions and voices run high, and the allegiance to the team you’ve chosen to champion is literally sealed for life.
But then, there’s this other thing. There’s the fact that these rivals, at the end of the day, are on the same team. Team U.S.A. On the battlefield, there are no separate service branches vying for the win. The code is ‘one team, one fight’.
Oddly enough, the meeting industry has a similar scenario.
We also have several ‘service branches’ working towards one goal. In this case, our mission isn’t peace, it’s a successful meeting and positive change and growth for the meeting’s host. To name a few, the different meeting branches include: Meeting Planners (CMPs), meeting stakeholders, brand managers, company execs, A/V companies, hotels and conference centers, the production company and the creative company.
And rivalries can occur. People vie for their spot—eager to be heard, eager to contribute. The attempts can be kind…and sometimes not so kind.
Hopefully, this competition eases before the meeting begins. Just like with the Army/Navy—the second the ‘real show’ starts, there is one team, fighting one fight.
I only wish, on the occasions when the rivalries are bitter, that the ‘Team U.S.A.’ sentiment could pervade every moment of the meeting process. From my vantage point, the curtain rising on the opening moment isn’t when the meeting begins and it isn’t when we need to pull together.
It’s the moment we begin our work, the moment the contract is signed and we dig in. Our one team, one fight needs to last throughout the entire process. We don’t really have a ‘place’ to play out the fun rivalry like the Army and Navy…unless anyone’s up for a quick game of flag football. We’ll meet you in the ballroom—before the chairs load in.