You believe in the company you work for and the service it provides to the community. You’ve bought into the idea of a better future. You believe that your team has the power to achieve their goals and push the business forward into the future. Unfortunately, you’re not entirely sure if your employees know what the larger plan is for the business and what part they play in making it a reality.
How do you ensure that your employees are on the same page and working to make the organization a success?
Infuse some energy into your team and learn about
company culture with a motivational speaker.
Why Is Vision Important in an Organization?
A vision or vision statement is set in the future and describes the world as it will be when a company lives out its mission.
Without a vision, a company is just going through the motions, taking care of daily activities with no goals or dreams in sight. The business and its employees may fall off track, distracted by “shiny object” syndrome and unable to function. It may become difficult to make decisions without a clear end in mind.
When a company has a strong, clear vision and the employees are aware of that vision, it inspires action and helps employees stay focused and work together no matter what challenges they face. The vision becomes the North Star that guides the company forward.
How Do Mission and Vision Affect Employees?
Sure, you can survive without a company vision, but your employees will be coming to work for a paycheck rather than a greater purpose. Their satisfaction will be low, their engagement as minimal as possible, and their happiness won’t come until the moment they step out of the building at the end of the day.
Employees that see, understand, and buy into the company’s vision will enjoy their jobs more, perform better, and truly drive the company’s success.
But where does mission fit into this?
The company mission defines how the company is going to reach its vision. Think of it like the GPS that guides the company along the journey. When employees understand the history and the “why” of the organization and have a clear concept of the mission, they will be better enabled to do their jobs and to understand the role they play in the company as a whole.
How Do You Implement Mission and Vision in the Workplace?
While the company’s vision statement may be prominently displayed on the lobby wall or front and center on the company website, if it isn’t an ingrained part of the culture, it will be regularly overlooked.
Now, if you work at a non-profit where employees get to save the world, one child, tree, or homeless person at a time, it won’t be difficult for them to see the vision and become a part of it. However, when you work for a for-profit company, it becomes slightly more difficult (though not impossible) to implement your mission and vision.
Implementing your mission and vision in the workplace begins with effective hiring. If you bring in a new employee whose values don’t match that of the organization, there’s no amount of cheerleading that can get them on board. Rather than looking solely for employees that have the skills or experience to fill a role, also consider hiring for personality, values, and culture fit. You can always train someone on how to do a job. You can’t, however, change who they are as a person.
Once employees are situated within the company, a great deal of responsibility falls on you as their immediate supervisor to be a living example of the values and mission in action. Employees will be inspired by your actions and your attitude and will likely follow suit.
How to Get Employees Excited About Your Business Vision
Wouldn’t it be amazing if your employees were eager to come to work early, happy to stay late, and excited to work together towards a greater good? When employees are excited about your business vision, they will go above and beyond to make that vision a reality.
Communicate Your Mission and Vision
It may seem obvious, but if you haven’t shared your vision with the employees and they don’t know what their ultimate goal is… you can’t expect them to be working tirelessly toward it. While your vision and mission may be hanging up for all to see, you’ll still need to ensure that it’s a topic of conversation with new hires. When you onboard a new employee, their first lesson should be what the company does, why, and where the organization is headed. This should happen before you ever get into the details of their specific job role. Once you’ve discussed both, then you can tie these together so they understand how they fit into the grand scheme of things.
For existing employees, and as a reminder to everyone, the vision and mission should be read at every meeting and opened to discussion about how the organization is meeting or missing the mark.
Listen as Much as You Speak
As a manager or leader, you may feel that your voice should be heard more than those of your employees. However, if they aren’t talking to you… they are probably talking to someone else. That could be fellow employees or even customers. That’s not a conversation that should ever happen.
Check in with your employees regularly and give them ample opportunities to voice their concerns. Of course, you’ll also have to create a safe space for them to do so. If employees are chastised for speaking up, or if news of your conversation reaches others in the organization, they may never come to you again. Whether you agree with what they have to say or not, hear them out.
You may be listening to your employees when they speak, but they might not feel comfortable doing so. If they aren’t voicing their opinions in meetings or coming to discuss ideas with you one-on-one, you’ll need to pay attention to their body language and their behaviors.
When you’re leading a meeting or conversation, you are often more focused on your own words than the way the audience is reacting to them. When you see that employees are no longer paying attention and becoming less engaged, it may be time to switch gears.
Incorporate Mission and Vision into Individual Goals
When employees clearly see the relation between their specific job responsibility and attainment of an organization-wide mission, they’ll be more likely to exhibit the desired attitudes and behaviors.
Reward, Reward, Reward
Like everything else in life, employees will respond better to positive reinforcement, being rewarded for a job well done and a mission well carried out than they will to being punished. This can be done with monetary rewards, gift certificates, time off, or any number of “bonuses” that communicate your satisfaction with their performance.
When your organization has a clear vision and mission, and the employees are excited to be a part of it and contribute to the whole, your business will be more successful and your employees will be more engaged, happy, and loyal. If you are clear on what you want to achieve and communicate that well with your staff, buy-in will happen naturally.
As an event planner, the weight of each and every conference seems to rest on your shoulders. From the location to the speakers to the food, you want every detail to be perfect. Often, those decisions will all be based on what you choose for your theme.
You could play it safe, but why? You want the attendees to remember this event for years to come. You want to see the wide-eyed expressions on their faces as they walk through the conference with awe and wonderment. And you want to have that amazing conversation with the client or your higher up where they tell you that you’ve exceeded their expectations and you’ll be hearing from them as soon as next year’s conference planning is underway.
If you want to create an event that will go down in the history books, it’s time to dig deep, get creative, and plan the event of a lifetime.
Trending Conference Themes for 2019
You want as many people to attend as possible and for attendees to get the most out of the event as they can. In order to do that, you’ll need to select a theme that appeals to their desire to learn and grow but also piques their sense of adventure and satisfies their yearning for entertainment.
Take a look at these trending conference themes and see if any of them create a spark for you. Then, we’ll discuss how to tailor them to your event.
- Wellness and Health – Productivity, sales success, providing good customer service… all of these are difficult (if not impossible) when wellness and health are not taken into account. Attendees need to learn how to get their physical, mental, and emotional houses in order before they can excel in the office.
- Leadership – Leadership isn’t just for managers anymore. Companies with strong, focused, self-disciplined, autonomous, self-sufficient employees will see better returns than those with “flock” mentality. Encourage every employer to be a leader, whether they have direct reports or not.
- Reinvention and Resilience – As the economic climate changes, many (if not all) industries are seeing some sort of challenges with the way they’ve always operated. The successful companies will be the ones that learn to reinvent themselves and lead the change.
- Productivity – Companies want their employees to be as productive as possible. Giving them the tools to manage their time and responsibilities appropriately can help.
- Sustainability – Our environment needs us. Companies have the ability to improve their bottom line without endangering the planet further. It’s not only good for the world, but it’s also becoming an expectation of customers.
- Women in Business – Glass ceilings are being shattered every day. A conference focused on women in business can improve leadership skills, decrease the pay discrepancies, and celebrate the amazing and unique characteristics that women bring to the business world.
- Marketing – Businesses are constantly looking to reach more potential customers and get their message front and center. A focus on marketing can help companies identify who they’re trying to reach, where those individuals are, and how to best craft their message for them.
- Technology and Social Media – Love it or hate it, technology is always evolving, and social media is here to stay. Attendees would benefit from understanding the latest advancements and how to incorporate them into their job responsibilities.
- Communications – No matter what innovations occur in technology, communication will always be the most important aspect of life and business. How do employees interact with one another? With customers? With direct reports or with management? The better you’re able to communicate, the more successful you’ll be.
- Demographic, Social/ Lifestyle and Environmental Trends – The world is changing. Businesses can embrace this fact and learn how to evolve, or they can ignore these trends and perish.
- Creativity – Innovation comes from creativity. And successful business comes from innovation. Any business could benefit from thinking more creatively.
- Harmony – Diversity and Gender Fluidity – Do employees know how to interact with people that are different from them? We don’t all need to agree, but we do need to find a way to understand and respect our differences.
- Trust – Developing an environment of trust is so important to a company or brand’s future. Whether between employees, employees and management, or the company and their customers/ potential customers, focusing on building trust will increase brand loyalty, attract the best talent, and pay off in the long run.
- Customer Experience – Customer service is no longer king… it’s the customer experience. What do customers experience from the moment they learn about a company, throughout the sales process, and well past the close? How can it be improved?
- Culture – Corporate culture has become a popular buzzword for companies and organizations. Focusing on this at a conference can help ensure that everyone is on the same page with their attitude, goals, and behaviors.
- Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy – Employees’ and customers’ expectations have changed. The job of a company has spread beyond providing a service or product. It now includes providing a benefit to the community.
- Storytelling – Whether the bulk of your audience is in sales, leadership, or customer service… or they just need to communicate with fellow human beings, storytelling skills can improve their performance and help them create an emotional connection with anyone they speak to.
- Working with Difficult People – It would be lovely if everyone got along… but that’s just not a reality. Employees could benefit strongly from learning techniques to deal with challenging people in the office and in the field.
- Teamwork – Are employees working together for the good of the organization, or have they gone rogue? Employees that function as a team unit rather than being isolated from the group, are happier, healthier, more productive, and more likely to stay loyal to the company.
- Performance – With the proper motivation and education, employees will perform better and be more satisfied at work. And the company will see an improvement in the bottom line.
How to Come Up With Conference Theme Ideas
Hopefully, some of the above ideas have gotten you thinking. If you’d like to stick with one of the trending themes, but perhaps you’d also like to add some zest to the event, here are a few ideas you can use to develop a theme that wows.
Who Is It For?
Consider the industry. There’s nothing worse than walking into a party wearing the same outfit as someone else… so don’t plan the same event as someone else. Do your research and figure out what themes similar companies or organizations are using and then do something different.
Take your attendees into account. Not every theme is a good fit for everyone. Think about who will be coming to the event. Are they generally male or female? A specific age range? Do they all have similar job responsibilities? Tailor your theme ideas to the specific people who attend and it will be more likely to appeal to them.
What do the attendees need to learn? If the organization is going through a massive shift, perhaps focusing on reinvention or resilience would benefit the attendees. If sales have been low, maybe a focus on marketing, communication, or customer experience would be helpful.
Where Will It Be?
What city or state will be hosting? Certain locations like Las Vegas, Miami, or Houston have their own personality. Factor that into your thematic planning and create a unique experience for attendees.
Which venue have you chosen? Consider the decor of the event space. Is it rustic? Modern? Nature inspired? This could help you uncover the perfect theme.
Dare to Be Different
Step up your theme. Perhaps one of the trending themes really caught your eye. How can you make it special?
- If your focus is Teamwork, you could create a rock and roll themed event that inspires employees to work together as a band rather than as solo artists.
- If your theme is Sustainability, why not bring the outdoors inside with a beach, jungle, or woodsy feel?
- When the theme is Storytelling, you could pay homage to the greatest stories of childhood and create a fairytale event.
- Looking to improve the Health and Wellness of attendees? You could create a Zen-themed event complete with meditation stations, yoga classes, and a rock garden for attendees to stroll through.
- If your focus is on improving Creativity, you could create an art museum themed event or turn the venue into a Lego playland that encourages attendees to experiment and build.
- Focusing on Diversity? What about a celebration of the world’s cultures?
- If your theme is Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy, why not center your event around a cause and show attendees how they can get involved?
You want your event to be a rousing success. While there are many details that go into making this a reality, choosing the theme is one of the most important decisions you will make. Select a theme that’s appropriate for the industry and the attendees and the organization’s current climate, and then throw in some creativity to spice it up and make it an event that attendees will never forget.
You’ve just been given the green light. Next year’s sales conference is your responsibility. You’re excited, of course. After all, you’ve attended sales conferences for years and had amazing ideas on how to improve them. However, you’re a tad bit nervous as well. You’ve got all of these ideas… but will the attendees like them? Will your higher-ups be pleased with the event you put together?
You want your attendees to be speaking about this conference for years to come. You want your sales team to learn how to kick their sales into high gear. And, you want to do all of this while looking like a rockstar.
Sales Conference Planning: How Do I Host an Annual Sales Conference?
An annual sales conference is an entirely different animal from other events you may have planned in the past. Why? Because all of those events had a very specific and immediate goal. Have fun, recognize someone for their achievement, join people together… whether the event was a success or not, the rest of their lives were probably not affected.
A sales conference, on the other hand, needs to create lasting change for the attendees. Employees that attend these conferences should be entertained, inspired, educated, motivated, and given actionable takeaways that will improve their role in your company and possibly even their lives.
Taking a logical approach to the planning can help take some of the anxiety out of the process. You’ll need to decide on the following:
Very few event planners are given an unlimited budget. Speak to whoever is footing the bill for this conference and find out how much you’ve got to spend and if there’s any leeway with that amount. Do you have to run your decisions through a committee, get approval from a higher up, or is your say is enough?
You’ll need at least a one year lead time to secure the venue and the speakers that you want for your event. Ideally, you’ll have more time than that. If you gamble with planning a conference in less than 12 months, you may find that the venue you want, or the speakers you’d like to have, are no longer available.
Do you want your employees to travel to a new city or state for the conference or do you prefer that they stay close to the office? There are benefits to having a conference in another city (change of environment could assist with a change in mindset, having to stay in a hotel and not go “home” at night may create relationships and foster a team building atmosphere). However, there are also drawbacks (travel costs and time).
Your venue choice will depend on whether your attendees will have to travel. If they are leaving their home area, you’ll need to find a venue that also offers lodging or you’ll need to secure a hotel and possibly transportation to and from it.
There’s a good likelihood that the venue will supply food. Discuss this with your contact and decide on a menu well in advance. Keep in mind that there are a number of dietary restrictions that may concern your attendees such as vegetarian or vegan, gluten-free, Kosher, and allergies.
Will you be providing entertainment at night, or are conference attendees on their own once the educational day is over? Make sure you factor in plenty of break time. People need to step out, get air, have a snack, and clear their heads in between sessions. Plus, the best networking happens during these times.
The speakers you hire will be determined by your goals for the conference. Are you looking to motivate your staff and get them fired up to return to work, or are your goals more focused on introducing new products, training them in specific areas, or teaching them sales techniques?
A conference without any attendees isn’t very exciting. Invites can be sent out through email blasts, social media, etc. Many keynote speakers will even create a short video for you to send out to your employees getting them excited about the upcoming event. Remember that you need to share the benefits your attendees will receive.
Provide surveys to all employees to determine what they liked and what could be done better in the future. You may want to follow up with another survey in 3-6 months asking if they’ve implemented anything they learned. Whether you plan the next event or it gets handed off to someone else, this information will prove invaluable.
How Do You Have a Great Conference?
As you go through the planning process, put yourself in the attendees’ shoes. Some employees may have work that has to be done once the conference day is over while others will be concerned about the growing pile of work waiting for them when they return to the office. Either way, business doesn’t stop just because they are at a conference, so you need to make the event worthwhile for them.
How you judge “success” will ultimately come down to whether you’ve met your goals for the event. What do you want your salespeople to get out of the experience? Did you want to renew their excitement for the company and their role in it? Or did you want them to have steps they could take the moment they got back to the office?
Sales Conference Ideas That Will Make Your Event Stand Out
You want this conference to be one that employees remember for years to come. Here are a few ways to help make it an event to remember for all of the attendees.
1. Celebrate Your Successes
Your employees are your greatest assets and should be acknowledged for the hard work they do. Consider sharing stories of employees that have gone above and beyond for customers, hit (and blown past) sales goals, assisted fellow team members, or otherwise performed like business rockstars.
2. Foster Teamwork
Having your entire sales team in one room as a captive audience presents an opportunity to build teams and strengthen relationships. Consider hiring a team building speaker or finding a keynote speaker who can fulfill both roles.
3. Improve Their Skills
No matter where they are in their career, every salesperson could use some extra skills training. From communication to closing, every employee could stand to take their skills up a notch.
4. Clue Them into the Competition
It’s always helpful to know who else does what you do. Provide real-world examples of your competitors in action and provide ways that your team can set themselves apart and be heard above the market noise.
5. Hire a Unique Speaker
There are thousands of motivational speakers that could deliver a good presentation for your conference. And chances are they’d even teach your attendees a thing or two. However, if you truly want your conference to be unforgettable, you need a speaker who not only educates, but motivates, and creates long-lasting change for your team.
Planning a sales conference is a lot of work, but the payoff is enormous. When you put in the time and effort to choose the right speakers for your event, you’ll see rewards as your team uncovers their inner business rock stars.