Event Planning: Why Is There Resistance to CEO Involvement?

Resistant Executive

It is a scenario that meeting planners and consultants dread. During the planning phase of corporate events, team-building retreats and marketing initiatives, some clients resist almost every piece of advice offered by event planners, consultants and facilitators. Despite repeated requests, there is also blatant refusal for contact with CEOs or other members of the senior executive team.

Marketing events, business meetings, conferences, and team-building retreats work best when senior executives have an opportunity to shape the agenda, content and approach. There is nothing more frustrating and pointless than to spend months planning corporate events that miss the mark. The result? The CEO shows up at the last minute, demanding drastic changes to an agenda that does not hit his or her hot buttons. Even worse is the scenario under which the CEO cuts the corporate event or team building initiative short leaving lots of loose ends and creating participant confusion. This makes the external consultant or event planner and the internal corporate event planners look incompetent. A few simple steps would ensure more targeted results.

  • Brief meeting or teleconference with CEO to identify organizational challenges, goals, objectives.
  • Participant profiles to crowdsource the agenda.
  • CEO sign-off on the agenda and content blueprint.
  • Feedback survey at the end of the first morning or day of the event.
  • Brief checkpoint meeting with the CEO halfway through the event. (This will ensure that course correction takes place if required and reduce the likelihood that the CEO will pull the plug prematurely.)
  • Brief post mortem with CEO and internal planner immediately after the event.

If a client refuses to incorporate these steps into the process, it might be better to turn down the engagement than to risk missing the mark. Planning an event without executive input is like trying to hit a moving target when you're blindfolded.

Why leave results up to chance when executive input that takes 20 - 30 minutes before and again during the event would eliminate 99% of the issues that undermine the effectiveness of events? I hope that some internal event planners and professionals who hire event planners, consultants and facilitators will stop by and clarify the reason for resistance to CEO involvement.

Photo Credit: s_falkow

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