Saturday, January 31, 2009

Good Bye Dallas, For Now.....

A week ago we began our descent on Dallas Fort Worth for our Q1 HTG meetings. This was the first of our HTG2.0 format where all 17 US based groups met in the same fantastic venue - the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Los Colinas. We again experienced the definition of customer service as the staff there met our needs and took very good care of us all week. Over the course of the week all 17 groups held their 2 day peer group meetings in separate meeting rooms at the hotel. But that is old stuff - the core of HTG where a group of 12 companies meets for 2 days each quarter to share best practices and push execution through accountability. We had a number of firsts that happened this week which are worth noting:

- first time all groups met simultaneously in a single venue
- first time all sponsors were able to meet with the membership in one venue
- first time we were able to have an HTGALL meeting where everyone could be updated on the great changes that are happening in HTG
- first time we were all able to hear from our platinum sponsors. This quarter it was ConnectWise and Zenith Infotech.
- first time we have been able to build a relationship with a business college like the University of Nebraska Kearney and announce the longitudinal study that will help us measure our impact
- first time we have had some staff to handle the needs of our members
- first time we have actually had some funding and a budget to work with
- first time we have been able to hold a leadership meeting face to face
- first time we could hold a facilitator training face to face
- first time we could have a Platinum and Gold vendor meeting to discuss our partnership program
- first face to face meeting of the Platinum vendor advisory council (Led by Dave Sobel and Erick Simpson)
- first meeting face to face of our board of directors
- first look at the new SharePoint portal that comes on line March 1
- first opportunity for many of our vendor sponsors to engage with HTG
- first sales management and service management tracks across HTG groups
- first app dev group meeting
- first vertical breakouts for healthcare (Garrett Brucker and Mike Ritsema) and Financial Services (Sonny Clark)

There are more but you should get the idea by now - it was an unbelievable and amazing week! We had hoped it would be good, but it was awesome. As with anything new, there were skeptics and critics but if they participated at all, the tune was completely different by the end of Wednesday. Change is never fun, but this format and these changes are critical for HTG to move to the next level.

It is already time to begin planning for April. If you don't have your hotel reservation, get it now. I can't tell you how many of the vendors told me they were pulling out all the stops next quarter for the vendor reception because as one put it.....HTG members rock and are the cream of the crop. I have been telling them that for months but this week - many got it for the very first time.

Be ready for an even better event in April. Christy Sacco is our event planner so it will be a lot more organized and under control I look forward to seeing all of you then.

1 comment:

Stuart R. Crawford said...

Arlin, thanks to you and your entire team at HTS to taking HTG to the next level. It was great to be a part of HTG 2.0. Don't forget that not everyone was there, our two international groups will be there in April.


Stuart Crawford
Calgary, AB