Planning Ahead to Meet Expectations

Posted on June 25, 2008 by LCT Magazine

By Jim A. Luff

As an editor for LCT magazine, I generally work from home in my own little world.  But, once a year. I head to the headquarters of Bobit Business Media, the parent company of LCT Magazine for an annual business meeting.  I suppose they need to see me once a year to make sure I really exist. (Staff members in this photo from left to right: Julie Hennessey, sales manager, Sara Eastwood-McLean, publisher, Debbie Richter, sales and marketing coordinator, and Martin Romjue, editor.)
This multi-day event is set aside each year to bring all members of the Bobit company together for strategic planning,  brain storming, and goal setting.  We also analyze the achievement of past goals and relish in our success and lament our short falls.  It combines an awards ceremony and social interaction time as well.  It is definitely a team building experience.  Bobit has 26 publications, 41 industry-related websites, and produces 12 industry shows each year.  The mantra of "online, in print, and in person" is achieved through nearly 200 dedicated employees, each towing their own duties and responsibilities to deliver excellence.
For a guy like me who pumps out articles from my home computer, it always amazes me when the magazine arrives on my doorstep and my article is in the magazine with fabulous graphics, and looking so much better than the black ink on white paper that I submitted months earlier.  It seems almost like magic.  Sometimes I hardly recognize my own work after many team members have been involved in laying it out on pages and making it reader friendly.
There are support people, graphic illustrators, production people, and editorial staff.  It literally takes a small army to build each issue.  Each issue begins in the annual business meeting.  Here we spend one very long day discussing what the major feature of each issue will be in the next year.  We discuss what our readers expect.  In my dual role as an operator and an editor I feel my contributions are important to this process as I am on the front line.  I know what the problems and issues are what we as operators face.  First thing in the morning, we start neat and proper with each team member having their devoted table space of 36 inches.  By the end of the eight-hour day, the giant conference table looks as if a small tornado has come through with hundreds of notes compiled.  The strategic planning day is topped off with a night of bowling with our entire team.  
My connection with the team consists of weekly teleconferences and daily e-mails with my fellow team members, so a night of bowling really is enjoyable and truly is a team building experience.
Have you been bowling lately?  Perhaps a company bowling night would be a great experience.  Perhaps a strategic planning day would be good.  No matter what hat I am wearing, I realize that rarely is success stumbled upon, but planning for success can help you achieve your dreams.
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