Meeting Professionals International’s Global Corporate Circle of Excellence, a select group of senior corporate meeting executives from the U.S. and abroad, last week came out with the next thing for your summer reading list: a 12-page white paper outlining eight steps in the process of creating a business plan for a strategic meeting management program.

The paper begins by making a case for an SMMP, warning meeting professionals to "avoid obsolescence" by adapting to the "new reality," where cross-department collaborations are essential to corporate success and the business environment (due in part to the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate governance law) demands cost-consciousness and accountability.

The eight steps (highly abbreviated here), which the Global Circle of Excellence recommends for reinventing a meeting department that supports the company’s overall goals, include:

1. Understand your company’s goals and culture, and the business environment in which it operates.

2. Do a hard-nosed assessment of what your department brings to the table, including its strengths and weaknesses.

3. Draft a preliminary business proposal for the department.

4. Consider preferred-vendor contracts with a range of suppliers.

5. Identify the tech tools that can increase productivity and improve data collection, reporting, and analysis.

6. Define success measurements both for individual meetings and the overall SMMP.

7. Prepare a proposal for C-level executives.

8. Refine the proposal based on feedback.

The full white paper is available at, where you can also find the GCCOE’s first white paper, which looked at collaborations between meeting and procurement departments, published last January, plus a tool kit with a glossary of terms, a variety of templates, and sample policies.