36 Years of Making Connections: Why In-Person Gatherings Still Matter

When MRG was founded in 1983, we were well aware that our methodologies and assessment reports were more sophisticated and complex than other products on the market. This meant that users would need to commit time and effort to become proficient in their use. It was also evident that MRG would need to provide various types of learning experiences to facilitate users’ efforts. One of those was the annual MRG Conference. The inaugural event occurred a year after our founding. It was held in Portland, and to the best of our recollection had ten participants.

From those humble beginnings, these gatherings became a much anticipated event, held on the Maine coast as well as numerous locations in Europe. Many of these meetings featured leading thinkers in the field such as Manfred Kets de Vries, a consultant and professor at INSEAD, and Fons Trompenaars, a leading Dutch consultant and developer of the model of cultural differences. Although the cerebral activities were the major focus of these events, the social activities often provided lasting memories. The Hotel Schloss Fuschl in Salzburg, Austria was the scene of one of these. The accompanying photo was taken at 2:00AM after five raucous hours of dancing, with many hotel staff members joining in.

Survivors of a five-hour dance party at the MRG gathering in Salzburg, 1996. The author is pictured in the front in blue; MRG president Tricia Naddaff to his right.


Conferences also became an occasion for the announcement of new products. I still recall when an internal HR person left the room after a presentation on the announcement of a new product and returned, after calling her organization, to reveal the new product was something they had been searching for and wanted to pilot test it ASAP.

In more recent times, as technologies such as webinars, video conferencing and Skype have significantly altered the way people are accustomed to meeting and exchanging ideas, it has affected people’s desire and need to meet physically. Although MRG uses all of these means to communicate and inform, we still feel the need for the human engagement with our users. We have found that these events not only benefit MRG in our desire to know consultants better, but also that the exchange of ideas between the participants often provides insights and knowledge that is highly useful. It is also not uncommon for consultants to form new relationships which result in opportunities to work, together on various interventions.

The newest iteration of this event will incorporate the best of what we have learned from previous experiences, but in a fast-paced, more focused way. MRG Summit is scheduled for June 20th in Portland, Maine.I cannot promise five hours of dancing, but can assure you that you will gain valuable insights into how the new IDI Team Report and Momentum, the latest behavioral development technology, are enhancing consultants’ offerings. New research findings and technology improvements will also be on the agenda – and, as is always the case for me, the opportunity to engage at a personal level will be very rewarding.

The 2019 MRG Summit will be held in Portland,  Maine on June 20. Registration is open and seating is limited. To join Jim and the MRG team in Portland this summer, register now. 

About the author

A true original, Jim has been with MRG since its inception in 1983.

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5 years ago

Great company, offering differentiating assessments in a busy market. Good luck in June!