This column was written by Dawn Wilson, former CKCA association manager
Have you ever wondered about the real definition of ‘round table’?
In years gone by it referred to the large circular table of King Arthur and his knights; but more often now it refers to a conference for discussion or deliberation by several participants – usually seated together amongst a group of their peers.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, and most interesting to me about this concept is this: In Arthurian legend, the table of Arthur, Britain’s legendary king, which was first mentioned in Wace of Jersey’s Roman de Brut (1155), told of King Arthur’s having a round table made so that none of his barons, when seated at it, could claim precedence over the others. The literary importance of the round table, especially in romances of the 13th century and afterward, lies in the fact that it served to provide the knights of Arthur’s court with a name and a collective personality.
There has been a collective group of people, all with a collective personality, none having precedence over the others taking place within the CKCA for years. This is known as the Manufacturers Roundtable. Usually, it happens at the CKCA Annual National Forum.
This group has not always been the same, has not always had the same discussions, nor has it had any specific and regulated kind of format to it. But one thing has always been consistent – the Roundtable has always happened, it still happens, and it will continue to happen as long as we exist.
I have not attended one of our Roundtables – this is a time when only manufacturer members of CKCA can gather together and talk about all that they need to talk about. It is a time when our members gather together - each with similar issues, opportunities and challenges to get down to the nitty gritty stuff. The kind of stuff you can say and the kind of questions you can ask in a closed, but safe environment amongst your peers. Some may be your competitors, some may not be – but the common ground in this session is that you can learn from your colleagues and ask questions that otherwise you just would not have the opportunity to ask.
And, consider this: you can hear the perspective of cabinetmakers from all across Canada – as well as from those in your own backyard. Moreover, there is an opportunity to address challenges that you really struggle with and may not be able to figure out on your own.
We’ve typically asked for topics or questions to be submitted in advance, and usually this does not happen – the reality is, that the discussion flows freely once the doors are closed and everyone is seated around the table. We’ve also been very fortunate over the past few years to have Stephan Kleiser help facilitate the discussion. We don’t emerge with an action list, or a written record of the proceedings. Simply put, it is ‘the’ preeminent opportunity in our industry to have a group of people all with similar goals get together and learn, ask questions, offer solutions and develop relationships that last long beyond the conference.
Even better, these relationships translate into long term solutions to business needs that arise along the way by offering a different insight into how to run, grow, develop or enhance your business.
At CKCA, we believe strongly in the power of communication amongst our members to help propel them to greater success. We also believe in not changing something that isn’t broken. There have been a lot of changes within CKCA in the past three years. Most of them were absolutely required to update us to be viable, relevant and member driven and member serving.
The Manufacturers’ Roundtable was never broken – it never ceased, and it continues to be a huge opportunity for manufacturers across Canada. It is a relevant, vibrant opportunity for our members to talk in an open session with confidence that nothing leaves the room.
It’s so successful that we have decided to offer it at ALL of our events moving forward. So if you are planning to attend one of our smaller regional events, we will build in time to offer this session there as well. And we are confident that it will only help us to help you.
If you have not thought about CKCA for a while, there is no time like now.
The CKCA Manufacturers’ Round table is alive and kicking. And it needs your input. Don’t miss the opportunity to have your seat at the table. Next event, Sept. 18-19, in Kingston, Ont.