When You Want Your Next Big Conference to Be a Breakthrough
April 4, 2017 | by Chris Kalaboukis
Nine months ago, I received an intriguing email from Rich Nugent, CEO of a fast-growing and forward thinking commercial roofing company, Nations Roof. "I need a breakthrough" read the subject line.
The next day Rich and I talked about his desire to make sure that his annual conference made a profound difference in the trajectory of his organization. Rich not only wanted to establish more unified commitment among his 20+ business units, he wanted to launch a new, company-wide initiative that would jump start his vision for Nation's Roof to become the "Mercedes of Customer Service" in the commercial roofing industry. But in order for that to happen, Rich knew that something needed to shift, especially given the fact that there were so many sub-cultures in his organization.
Below is the first wave of comments Idea Champions has recently received from the 61 conference participants who attended Nations Roof's annual conference, in fabulous Costa Rica, just two weeks ago.
COMMENTS FROM CONFERENCE PARTICIPANTS
"As the CEO of a company with offices and sales professionals throughout the USA, it's a very difficult cultural environment. The value of collaboration to our own growth and profitability is obviously enormous, but to our customers it's immeasurable. After several annual meetings where we did our best to communicate a unified message, we thought it was time to get help. So we made the decision to bring in Mitch Ditkoff of Idea Champions to facilitate the communication of urgency and opportunity to our organization. It was the right decision. I never saw our people so engaged. I have been told by the majority of attendees how much they got out of this meeting. They have expressed that they get it now and feel not only a greater commitment to the company, but to each other. Mitch and Idea Champions will be a part of our future growth and ability to provide high quality services to our customers." -- Rich Nugent, CEO, Nations Roof
"Mitch Ditkoff's facilitation of our 2017 conference showed us how authentic, interactive storytelling can spark creativity and improve company culture." - Jill Tackett, Director of Strategic Initiatives
"The biggest impact made by Idea Champions at our annual meeting was helping Nations Roof and it's many business units change the way we look at things. Because, as you know, when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. We took a great step forward in our evolution, as a company, thanks to Mitch." - Larry Morgan, President, National Sales
"Great job of facilitating our annual meeting! You kept it lively and interesting, while guiding us to apply the ideas and business principles that we were discussing. The stories and plans we generated at the conference will drive our strategic plans for years to come. And thanks, also, for the many new ideas you helped us generate. I can't wait to get started on them." - John Geary, Chief Marketing Officer
"The Storytelling approach you used at our corporate conference brought our extremely diverse group together like no one or nothing ever has." - Doug Ingle, Regional VP of Sales
"This past week, in Costa Rica, Mitch lead our group of 61 employees to a place of unified commitment. His ability to build a "one-team" mentality brought our people much closer together, helped us work better as a team, and clarified our goals. Mitch's group process and facilitation style opened our eyes to areas we need to focus on in order to meet our goal of providing extraordinary service to our customers." - Nick Little, National Service Manager
"I enjoyed your presentation very much. It was interactive and engaging rather than numbers and charts." - Dave Hinkley, President, North
"The last few annual events we struggled to bring a group together that interacts more or less once a year to accomplish something constructive. But this year's meeting was different. I really enjoyed your facilitation. You kept me engaged and I really believe that all of us benefited from your process. The River Crossing activity was very insightful. It hit the nail on the head for us." - Steve Miller, EVP, Carolina
"I enjoyed our three sessions with Mitch. He kept things lively and thought provoking. He focused our group on obtaining the goal of crossing the goal line together in our company's quest to be the best in service to our customers." - Bruce McCrory, Operations Manager, Gold Coast
"I enjoyed our time together immensely. Now back to the salt mine." - Mike Johannes, President, East
"Thank you for a great conference in Costa Rica. Your presence and coaching really made it a great experience." - Doug Duncan
"Thanks for the opportunity to think in creative ways to improve our business." - Kent Tolley, President, Mountain