ムTis the Season ナ a Time for Thought and Change

December 7, 2013

Adam Schaffer

Adam Schaffer is Vice President, Tradeshows and Exhibitions for HelmsBriscoe and a member of the IAEE Senior Executives Programming Task Force.

The end of the year is always a time for reflection. For many of us, it involves closing out a fiscal year, transitioning from a brutal work schedule to a hectic holiday schedule and hopefully some time to think about your business and what you need to do to stay relevant and competitive.


Change has historically come slow to the tradeshow business. Real slow. Like watching ice melt kind of slow.


Opportunity and business conditions have warranted that the industry step-up and evolve, and it has responded impressively. However, we must continue to innovate and manage our businesses at a pace that is only quickening. We must always have our radar spinning to learn, educate and grow… and change.


The management of that change is something that can doom even the most focused executive. It is simply the hardest part of managing anything. Change management involves people. And people behave … like people.  Accordingly, change is hard.


When faced with change management, there are eight steps identified by Harvard professor John Kotter that are universal in their applicability.  They are:


•    Increase urgency


•    Build the guiding team


•    Get the vision right


•    Communicate for buy-in


•    Empower action


•    Create short-term wins


•    Don't let up


•    Make change stick


If you think about these steps we all embrace them daily – so there is no rocket science here. Thus, change management should be as comfortable and fluid as, say, drawing a floor plan. It’s in our DNA.  


As the industry meets this week in Houston for IAEE Expo!Expo!, I know change and evolution are high on the agenda. Just look at the range of topics in the education sessions. We have finally gotten ahead of the change curve and I am confident we will stay there.


So, as this year ends and another begins, step back and reflect and ask yourself if you are doing everything you can to manage the needed change in your organization. Many of us are and the rest of will.   


I wish you safe travels, a great show and lots of positive change in the New Year. 

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