The Modern EBC: A Vast “Sea” of Opportunities

At this year’s ABPM (Association of Briefing Program Managers) Spring Conference, the running theme is all about growth and broadening your horizons in the briefing world - it’s “Waves of Change, Oceans of Opportunity.”

With over 300 attendees riding the wave, the general goal is to exchange ideas and management styles, including innovative plans for improving on-site experience centers of excellence in the executive briefing sector.

It’s the theme that really captured our attention this year. It got us thinking… what other environments can it be likened to?

If executive briefing programs are considered to be the ocean, creating vast opportunity and waves of change, then what is everything else? What about the executives and employees that make various centers work? What about all the streamlined processes, forms of engagement and customer interaction?

Then it clicked. The entire enterprise ecosystem or briefing community can be compared to a coral reef. Wait, what?

Making the Argument for Modern Coral Reefs: Executive Briefing Environments

Often, coral reefs are referred to as the rainforests of the ocean. There are many underlying reasons for this; it’s due to the vast amount of species and wildlife within, and the high productivity each party yields. More importantly, it’s one central, collaborative ecosystem that works in tandem to thrive and grow. When one aspect of a reef or particular form of life runs into trouble, it has detrimental effects on the reef as a whole. This is not unlike the setup for most modern executive briefing centers and enterprise teams.

Coral reefs make up less than one percent of the ocean floor, and yet they support an estimated twenty-five percent of all aquamarine life. Over 4,000 species of fish, alone, live and exist within underwater reefs. In addition, there are hundreds upon thousands of species of coral and aquatic flora, invertebrates, sea mammals, fish, and more.

The true comparison can be made in how both of these environments are structured and diversified, however. Much like coral reefs, briefing programs are a niche breed, making up just a small portion of the greater enterprise market. Yet, despite that small composition, they reach and influence more areas globally than anything else in their ecosystem. The total number of professionals that make up the briefing world is about one percent of all jobs, internationally, across many Fortune 3,000 companies. They have such a small gathering, in spite of an incredibly effective, versatile, and influential offering.


The Ocean and a Vast Sea of Opportunities

It’s a great big world out there, but if you want to be more specific, it’s a vast ocean, as well. Nearly seventy-one percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, with the oceans containing ninety-six and a half percent of all water on the planet. It’s vast, open, nearly limitless, and definitely has an air of mystery about it. Yet, it takes on many forms and has many varying environments and ecosystems within. Coral reefs are just one major component of our world’s oceans, just as EBCs make up one part of a business’s operations. However, both are vital for survival. The largest deals of any enterprise company are often closed in an EBC meeting, so they are not to be underestimated. Specifically, at ABPM, you have the opportunity to network with 300 attendees, all hungry to both grow and evolve not just their own briefing programs, but others as well. It’s a chance to give back to the EBC community and learn from members controlling some of the largest and most influential EBC programs across the globe.

This highlights the need to grow and change in the current landscape, especially for enterprise professionals. Like the ocean, vast and unforgiving at times, you must be willing to absorb multitudes of information and shape yourself to meet various programs and expectations. In the current business climate, the competition is fierce for your customer’s attention. Humans are more distracted than ever, so you have to be able to adapt quickly. Staying open to new opportunities to grow and make an impact on your audiences, will help you do so.

The openness of the ocean is much like the opportunity and growth afforded in briefing programs. Briefing Managers have the tools to build lasting business relationships, tailored customer experiences, and perpetual engagement, but these tools need to be acknowledged and utilized. By adopting a mobile-first approach, you can have easy, up-front access to key touchpoints like customer details, ongoing business engagement, opportunities, and extensive profile information. All of which will not only make for a more sustainable business but turn it into a force to be reckoned with.

Of course, there are other aspects of the ocean—and yes, coral reefs—that tie the entire ecosystem together.


Like every species that lives and breathes within the reef, you are not alone. It’s a collaborative network that requires constant teamwork and awareness of what’s going on around you. The network of members—meaning your colleagues and peers—are all in the same situation as you, working to figure out the next best solution or strategy. Everyone wants to make their existing processes and ventures more successful and more effective.

This facilitates the need to share and grow alongside others, in order to continually shape and refine programs and processes. In turn, this will turn up some of the best results and most influential decisions of any comparable team. Like a reef, you share in the responsibility, but you also reap the success together.

Aside from sustaining life, coral reefs are also important for the environment. They protect major coastlines from the damaging effects of erosion and wave impact, and they also shield the coast from tropical storms and turbulent weather. Furthermore, reefs provide a safe habitat or shelter for many marine organisms that otherwise wouldn’t receive it. Briefing centers are a lot like this, in that they help sustain a business by capturing and communicating company culture. They also double as a sales and marketing tool or hub, helping the maintain a delicate balance in the enterprise.

Trust and Collaboration

As a member of the ABPM group, it’s obvious that you—and the greater community—chooses to surround oneself with like-minded people and successful teams. At an event like this, everyone comes together to work collaboratively, despite many differences, to generate a better briefing world for everyone. It gives you a real sense of inclusion and harmony, much like what you would see after spending just a few moments in a thriving coral reef. All species, plants, and inhabitants work together to make the surrounding ecosystem better.

A coral reef is symbiotic, yes, but then so is the executive briefing sector, at least in regards to major events such as this. It’s a developed, mutual environment that continues to feed itself, roll with the tides and waves, and change with time.

You could also add that collaboration with strategic partners and colleagues is an essential element of innovation. To grow, change, and become something more collaboration it absolutely vital. With a reef, that’s absolutely true, as the influence and reach cannot continue to grow and spread without the help of every living thing within its boundaries.

The Future of the Executive Briefing Community

The modern briefing community and our oceans coral reefs are both vast, supportive, and collaborative in nature.

Looking at this in terms of growth, it means that you as a team need to be able to cover as much ground as possible. However, that can only be accomplished by being a “sponge,” so to speak. This means being willing to continuously absorb new techniques, knowledge, and experiences that will not only lend to a stronger briefing program, but a stronger briefing community overall. At times, this requires you to be prepared to branch out, work collaboratively, and give back to others as much as you take. If you aren’t able to do so through conferences, like ABPM, this can still be accomplished through a mobile community. Here, the collaboration does not have to stop when the event ends. You can ask questions and continuously improve all year round. Just know you’re not alone, the briefing community is large, supportive, and willing. Events like ABPM only work to cement this fact.

Remember to consider these thoughts and ideas if you plan to grow and thrive in the future. The ocean’s coral reefs are necessary to protect major coastlines, marine life, and a variety of underwater environments. This is much like the EBC, and how it influences sustainability for an organization. Both provide a massive potential for anyone to grow and thrive in the surrounding ecosystem. Briefing managers are a key part of the overall support structure of a business, always looking for opportunities to extend the sales cycle, dialing into specific touch points along the customer journey that allows organizations to support the customer at each stage of their buying decision process. Through their mobile-first initiatives and hunger for constant self-improvement, they are able to extend their program’s impact beyond the walls of the EBC. 

Just as ABPM is about the waves of change and opportunity, the modern EBC mirrors this theme, allowing briefing managers a channel for growth and support.