At a recent board meeting, we had an interesting discussion about the dichotomy between long range planning and short term innovation.
The association contracts for conference space several years in advance, a practice that allows them to receive the best rate for all involved.
The rub comes in when it is time for the event itself and an enthusiastic new program committee wants to implement innovations that were not considered in the original negotiations. Often the spaces to do “more” or “new” are not part of the original agreement, and thus are either not available or are cost prohibitive to add.
At work, we weigh the savings of long term service contracts or software leases with the cost of being saddled with them after requirements have changed or when better products emerge. Homeowners consider the full cost of ownership vs the mobility and liquidity afforded by renting.
Foregoing flexibility and the ability to make changes are real costs that should be weighed against any monetary gains from a long term commitment. Leaders need to consider both the benefits and costs of extended obligations and find a comfortable balance between the trade offs. A good deal is about dollars and sense, not just cents.