Every March 1,000 tourism professionals meet for the Wisconsin Governor’s Conference on Tourism (WIGCOT). This is a time for destinations, attractions, hotels and industry partners to share their successes, learn about new trends and to plan for the upcoming tourism season. This year the conference was held in La Crosse along the banks of the Mississippi River.
Although the majority of the speakers and sessions revolve directly around tourism-related issues, there are always inspirational keynote speakers that touch on topics broader than tourism – but relevant to it nonetheless.
One of this year’s headliners was Connie Podesta, an organizational therapist, human resources professional, comedian and expert in the psychology of human behavior. Her keynote, “LIFE WOULD BE EASY…IF IT WEREN’T FOR OTHER PEOPLE!” asserts that the real key to success is getting along with others. Once you understand how the people around you like to be treated and how they like to work, you can be on your way to less stress and potentially more success. Check out her Personality Shape Assessment – it will change how you look at other people around you. (No spoilers here, but I am a “square” … which will come as no surprise for anyone who knows me.)
Another keynote presentation was from bestselling author and TED speaker Shawn Achor. He spent 12 years at Harvard researching the connection between happiness and success. The common misconception is that success will lead to happiness. But in reality, people aren’t happy with their successes because they always look to the next one. When I get a job … When I get a promotion … When I make more money … I will be happy. Shawn’s perspective on reversing those two makes a ton of sense. Happier people will influence those around them, which will ultimately help lead to success. This isn’t about “rainbows and unicorns” happy, either. It’s about being positive and spreading that attitude through simple texts and emails to co-workers, friends and family. Spend two minutes a day sending positive notes to the people around you, he suggests, and you’ll be feeling significantly better three weeks later.
Even though these two topics don’t necessarily scream “tourism,” I would challenge anyone in the industry to look deeply into them and not see relevance. Any person who interacts with a customer or potential customer can make or break that final sale. Make sure you arm all of your employees with the right mindset. It will pay off quickly.