By Carl A H Martin
In my sometimes-misspent youth I had a lot of friends who had been in the
Armed Forces in the UK, as volunteers and conscripts. To a man (before
anyone says anything, I didn’t know any women who had served in HM’s forces)
they all told me “never volunteer for anything!”, something I have seldom
forgotten. However, I obviously forgot this time and consequently I was
announced as “Head Cook and Bottle Washer” (or to put it officially, I was
to “coordinate, introduce and provide technical support all presentations in
the International Pavilion”) for the presentations by venue managers from
around the world in the International Pavilion at this year’s Annual
Conference & Trade Show. So I got on with it. Tell you what, it was so much
fun and I enjoyed the company and the presentations so much I have actually
volunteered to do it again next year. If you weren’t there you missed a
As you will all know, or you should, the International
Pavilion was the idea of Past President Larry Perkins, CFE. It was amongst
his raft of ideas to wake the members up to the fact that we are an
International Association, and I for one applaud this mission — but then I
would, being from the “Old World.” Along with the great news that VMA and
IAAM were getting together and IAAM Europe is moving forward, it was an
opportune moment for Larry’s actions. Long may it continue.
The presentations were actually the result of an idea
from Wilfrid Spronk, GM of the Olympiapark, Munchen, that IAAM invite
members from major venues around the world make presentations at the
Being unable to attend Conference before the 22nd, the
day the presentations were scheduled to start, due to having to site
coordinate a concert by George Michael in Italy the week before, I got in
touch with all the participants beforehand and there didn’t seem anything
too onerous to organize technically, or otherwise. (Actually I am wrong;
didn’t one speaker want M&M’s with all the blue ones taken out?) So, I
arrived on site tired from the trip but not too nervous. The technicians
from the hall were waiting for me and immediately made me feel at ease. They
obviously knew what they were doing. That certainly helped and a big thank
you to them.
Now all we had to do was to get started, at the
appropriate time, in front of the anticipated audience, standing room only
for the first presentation, although they did diminish sometimes after that.
The presentations were wonderful, they were varied, they were informative
and those that attended were enthusiastic and effusive about the whole
thing. The intended presentations at the Annual Conference & Trade Show in
Anaheim next year are eagerly anticipated.
Did you know that you could perform Ben Hur, including
the chariot racing, in a stadium? You can, as Jean Christophe Giletta, from
the Stade de France (in Paris, France), showed us it could be done in
glorious wide screen technicolor. You would have anticipated being told
about the rugby, football, athletics and even the international motor racing
spectaculars they have done, but Ben Hur? It is very impressive, and, you
can do it in your stadium apparently. The whole presentation was scary, in
the professional way he presented it and the technology he used. Having said
that, Jean Christophe also humbly admitted how lucky and grateful he was to
have such a great stadium to manage.
Follow that, as they say.
So Cliff Wallace, CFE, from the Hong Kong Convention
and Exhibition Centre (it’s an old English colony so they should spell
Centre this way...) and the Zhengzhou International Convention and
Exhibition Center (this one I have to live with, I guess) followed that and
it was amazing. It was such an informative talk, most of us do not have a
clue what goes on in China. Well, those of us that were there do now
understand a bit more. Lots of things are different but other “special
requirements” seem to be the same all over the world. I am not going to
elaborate on what we heard but I would urge you, should the chance arise, to
listen to what he has to say. I have to admit I do admire Cliff’s
Follow that, then.
So I tried, seemed impossible to reach the same level
the previous two had, so I talked about the wonderful city of Budapest and
country, Hungary, I am proud to be involved with. I made a few minor
criticisms about architects and contractors (I have omitted any more
descriptive language to save the lawyers having apoplexies), pointed out the
result of the problems these two types can, and do, inflict on an arena,
with examples from my own and others, and moved on. Thank you to those of
you who listened, laughed and stayed around to hear me.
Last, but not least, on day one, Guy Dunstan from the
NEC Group in Birmingham, England, had the courage to follow all of us. With
something like 14 exhibition halls, the National Arena, the National Indoor
Arena and the International Convention Centre, the Birmingham Symphony Hall,
etc., etc. there had to be some more interesting and entertaining facts,
figure and stories for him to tell us, and he did. I have to say I have
known of, visited and used venues in the NEC group for the past 30 years
but, again, I learnt new things. However, I still didn’t get the answer to
one question that has bugged me, and the rest of the venue industry market
in England forever: who gave them permission to call themselves the
“National” venues? (said with a smile on my face.)
Next morning, looking remarkably fresh and healthy,
Kommerzialrat Herr Professor Direktor Peter Gruber, VP IAAM Europe, from
Stadthalle Wien (that’s Vienna in Austria to you and I) gave a whale of a
presentation, with a lot of loud music, about his beloved Wien and the
myriad of venues within the Stadthalle Group, loads and loads. It made
Birmingham look almost provincial. To me though, the most astounding (and
amusing) piece of information he gave us was that they do 90 (that’s
ninety!), virtually sold out performances of Holiday on Ice each year, at
around 5,000 capacity each show! That’s close on half a million people. Good
Finally, Gillian Hauser, from the Bruce Hauser Center
in Auckland, New Zealand, came to the stand and blew us all away with her
presentation. The amount of effort she puts into bringing entertainment and
events into her venue and New Zealand is unbelievable, her enthusiasm for
the venue, her country and her vocation is pure magic. The VMA Annual
Meeting is in Auckland next May. I’m sold, see you there!
You may have gathered by now, I believe this series of
presentations was priceless. I thank all of the above and especially Mike
Kelly, who I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time, for making this
couple of days what every future IAAM meeting should be, a gathering of like
minded people from around the world, getting together to exchange views,
knowledge, and experiences, allowing us all to broaden our minds and our
capabilities. Please let me remind of one thing, don’t be the one who isn’t
there next year, you will only miss it again! fm
Carl A H Martin is director, European Services,
IAAM Europe. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Lindsay Adams
If you want to have successful teams
in your venue, make sure you have successful leaders. What do I mean by
this, you ask? The way a team is led will have a major impact on the success
or otherwise of the team. When I asked team members from within a large
venue what they wanted from a team leader, they identified the following
Team members want to trust and be
trusted. They felt it was important to be able to trust their team leader to
actually do what they said they were going to do. Of course this works both
ways — team members also want to be trusted to uphold their part of the
bargain and deliver the goods when asked to do so.
Trust is the outcome of kept promises and is something
that is earned, not bought or obtained easily. Trust was the No. 1 issue
raised by team members. If team members didn’t trust their team leader,
there was a definite lack of cohesion and ability to achieve outstanding
results within that team.
A commitment to their staff, as well as the
task. After the issue
of trust, most team members were more concerned about relationships within
the team than about the tasks the team was responsible for. Feeling valued
and part of the team is an important component and allowed the team member
to contribute as a valued individual.
A switched-on team leader will spend time supporting
their staff and build a commitment to the team through this support. This is
important when a team is formed and or when a new team member joins the
team. The team leader must never lose sight of the task, but also must never
lose sight of the value of the individuals within the team.
willingness to support and serve the team.
Team members want strong leadership —
people who are willing to lead from the front, take responsibility and make
the right decisions. Having said that, the overwhelming response to my
survey in the venue was also that staffers want a leader who’s willing to
lead from behind. By this I mean a leader who serves the team members to
enable them to get their job done and achieve within the constraints of the
This can sometimes be a delicate balancing act between
getting the job done and catering to the needs of the individuals within the
team. A leader who supports staff by allocating appropriate resources or
cutting red tape to achieve an outcome is highly valued by the team. At
times, this may be at odds with the organizational culture but again brings
forward positive results in terms of productivity and loyalty.
leadership combined with energy, enthusiasm and appropriate expertise.
Team members want to be inspired and have
a leader who takes them to the next level. They want to be motivated and
work with a leader who has energy for the task and the team. They want to
work with a leader who can do this and has the appropriate knowledge about
the task at hand to lead the team where they want to go.
If the team leader doesn’t have the appropriate
knowledge, the team expects the leader to encourage the input of others from
within the team. People recognize that not every leader has all the answers,
but they want to know the leader is real and can draw on the knowledge and
experience of the other people around them in the team.
The guts to take
responsibility rather then pass the buck.
Teams and leaders are often put under a
lot of pressure to achieve or perform in venues. Team members want a leader
who will take responsibility and work to quickly fix problems if and when
they arise. This process must be one where the team grows as a result of the
leader’s actions. This means leaders may have to admit the issue was their
fault or a result of their actions. This isn’t about finding a scapegoat;
it’s simply about taking responsibility. Team members value leaders who are
willing to admit they made a mistake and support them through the fallout
from that mistake.
The glue to make everyone come
together and operate as a team.
A group of workers becomes a team when there’s a synergy between the members
of the group. Team members want to feel part of that group and be welcomed
by the leader and others in the group as an equal member of the team. The
team leader may have to experiment with different styles of leadership to
bring the team together.
Recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of team members, and establishing
accountability and clear roles are important steps in creating this synergy
among team members. Good team leaders will recognize the need to adapt their
style to fit the needs of the group. Once the glue is applied, the team will
come together and operate well.
A willingness to have
fun. Finally, the team members
I surveyed unanimously wanted to have fun at work. Comments abounded about
the best team leader was the one who made coming to work fun and working
never seemed like a chore because it was so enjoyable. Fun is compulsory in
Lindsay Adams is a
practiced speaking professional, workshop facilitator, consultant and
business coach. He is also a PVMS instructor and member of the Program
Committee for the 2008 Congress in Auckland, New Zealand.