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Measuring Effective Success

November 12, 2007 - 0 Comments

We’re now just a month away from C-Scape Global Forum 2007. The agenda for both days has been finalized. Attendees have been registered. Speakers have been confirmed. And content is being crafted as I type … and will likely continue to be crafted right up to the time I jump on stage to welcome you to the conference on December 11.Putting on an event like this is an incredibly involved and difficult exercise. And it does cost me a dollar or two. Surprisingly, my boss and the rest of the senior management team here at Cisco expect me to prove the value of that expenditure by measuring and qualifying the”success” of this forum. Can you believe that?The evaluation forms you fill out are not just a critical piece of that final assessment; they are the central component of it. (OK, that’s the first instance of you being reminded that filling out your eval forms is really important. I’m willing to bet that we mention that 57 more times before 3:30 p.m. on December 12.)And while those forms do give us a tangible measurement of if we achieved our objectives, I’m wondering how we can TRULY capture whether or not this event was a success.And that absolutely depends on you. Was the forum worth your time? Did you get what you wanted out of the two days? Was it relevant to you? Interesting? Surprising? Thought provoking? Did it change your mind about something? Did it challenge a position you had taken?Even the responses to those questions don’t really give me my answer because what one influencer finds great value in, another sees as a waste of time. Too many people with too many agendas/areas of interest for me to please all or find the true sweet spot that will ensure you return for two more days in 2008. And -as a group in general -you’re a bit reluctant to ever admit to a vendor that you actually liked something. (Hey, I know that’s true. I used to be one of you.) When it comes to us big, bad vendors, the nature of your job is to criticize, but also provide constructive feedback.I know, I know. I can hear you: stop your whining, Skip. No one has been able to figure out the magic formula when it comes to successfully evaluating the effectiveness of an event. Compile the scores from your forms and get on with your life.And that’s what I’ll likely end up doing this year. But what I need is some of that constructive feedback and input. Over the next month, please let me know what success at C-Scape looks like for you. Why do you attend this event? What are your expectations? What makes you come back?Beyond getting the opportunity to spend some time with me, of course…

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