“Reality (aka ‘the future’): the ‘new normal’ you create, not the ‘old normal’ that’s long gone!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
If you do anything today, commit to undertaking a regular ‘reality check audit‘ of the industry around you. It will help you to gauge the status of change that is occurring, and to identify the innovators who will probably taste real success as we build a new global economy that is unlike our previous economy.
I DESPISE THE PHRASE ‘NEW NORMAL.’ There is no new normal. There is only the ‘next normal,’ and we are still busy figuring that out. Learn from those who are skating along the edges of it as it is still being defined!
In my own case, I’ve been tracking a few groups of professional ‘meeting planners,’ ‘event professionals’ and similar people. These are the individuals who pull together the massive Las Vegas events at which I was often the keynote speaker – they manage all the logistics, production issues, meal planning, hotel contract negotiations and thousands of other details to pull together a great conference or event. They are a special talent!
Their lives and business operations have obviously shut down during this global pandemic as the global convention and meeting industry crashed to a standstill. Like me, they find themselves in a world that is unlike anything they have ever known, and a pathway that is less than clear going forward.
Watching them, I quickly realized there are two extreme views in this industry that parallel all other industries.
First, there are those who working with the belief tthat we might one day soon be ‘back to normal’ — full meeting rooms, packed convention centers, as soon as the fall, or perhaps spring 2021. Just like it was, but with some hand sanitizer and a sprinkling of social distancing!
And then, on the other end of the spectrum are the realists. They know that the near future – probably well into 2021 if not 2022 – does not involve in-person events, but professionally produced virtual events that are engaging, go beyond a talking-head-Zoom call, and which will define the future of this industry in new and different ways.
In the middle are the majority, many of who are terrified, confused, scared, and wondering what might come of their world and hate industry. They are working in uncertainty, frozen by indecision, bound by a battle of desire vs. reality.
I’m with the realists, and it’s a breath of fresh air when you see them surface. Just this morning, on a new Facebook group that I just joined, one individual posted:
“I’m seeking to hire a part-time (for now) virtual assistant that (in order of importance LOL): is interested in becoming a subject matter expert in digital/hybrid events (aka the future). Maybe a junior planner that wants to learn how a scaling virtual event agency is run?”
That’s reality. Work with it. Accept it. Innovate in it. It’s all you’ve got.
Look, everyone would LIKE to go back to the old world of in-person meetings. I’d love nothing more than to be on a big, beautiful stage somewhere. But I know it’s not going to happen. The industry as I know it is it’s dead, gone, kaput, comatose, for a long, long time. Those who accept the realty and are innovating within the context of what it means for their future – are busy building a new future.
Undertake a look around your own industry. Where do you see realty? Wishful thinking? Practical strategies vs. rabbit-hole chasing?
Learn from what you see – and carve out your own ‘new reality.’