I am not really a big fan of conferences.
First of all, they frequently involve large groups of people and as a general rule that’s something I try to avoid.
Next, they often bill themselves as learning sessions which quickly turn out to be “let me teach you how to buy my products and/or services sessions”. Honestly. Didn’t I spend enough just getting to and through the door?
I’ll admit that I have been known to mock HR conferences because seriously,how many HR conferences are there in the U.S.?! And how do people find the time to go to all of these?
But the truth?
I’m probably just a wee bit jealous because as I sit at work surreptitiously checking my Twitter stream, I’m reading about what all the cool kids are doing at this week’s conference. And then I have to read about all the blog posts that follow the conference. And by the time I get over that one…there’s another friggin conference and I have a well salted wound.
However, now it’s my time. Oh yes.
I was recommended by fellow bloggers and Twitter-folk to check out the Impact99 summit in Toronto. Not only was it pretty much in my backyard (compared to say Las Vegas), but it would let me meet some people I had been in touch with.
Given the ambitious goal of tackling re-invention of the workplace in a 1-day conference, I have to admit that I was unsure of what to expect. And truthfully, I’m still not 100% sure what I actually got. I’m still digesting the messages, the tweets, and my own thoughts.
What I wanted to do at Impact99 was listen to and talk to others who are connected, creative, and more daring in terms of their workplace. And with this, I was very successful – the energy of the people I met was contagious.
Impact99 let you take away as much or as little as you wanted. You could sit on the fringe and observe or you could dive right into the revival waters and emerge a new person. It was large enough to offer up quality speakers, but small enough that you didn’t get lost in the shuffle.
At one point, we were challenged to take away one thing, one idea we wanted to implement, pair up with someone at your table and tell them what thing is idea is and commit to follow-up with this person.
There were 5 people at my table.
Even a room full of HR people can do the math to see that one person was going to be left talking to herself. Fortunately I am extremely familiar and comfortable with doing just that.
So I committed to myself that I needed to be more aware of my tendency to revert to rigid thinking about what defines hard-working and productive, when it applies to others. I pinkie-swore that if I didn’t do this, I would owe myself a bottle of wine.
You can see how this was a complete win-win situation for me.
Truthfully, I didn’t go to Impact99 with the aim to transform myself or my organization. Neither of us are quite ready for that. However, we are both open to ideas.
I compare it to flipping through a fashion mag and seeing a great outfit. You’re not going to run out and buy the entire outfit. However, the look is going to inspire how you might be able to mange something similar with what is in your own wardrobe, with maybe an addition or two. After all, a gal has to stay relevant.
And so it’s now a few days later and I’m back at work. It’s time to look at what our company has with fresh eyes and see how I might be able to suggest a new way of using what we already have…with maybe an addition or two. After all, an organization has to stay relevant.