The Point of Impact

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.


5 thoughts on “The Point of Impact

  1. Pingback: Best Blogs 1 November 2013 | ChristopherinHR

    • How the hell I got (and stayed in HR) is at least another two blog posts.
      You have defined my entire purpose in life: to find the fine line between relevance and irrelevance and walk it.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. You are a woman after my own heart! I never met a conference that I thought was worth the time and money I spent to go there…even when I might have been a presenter. That doesn’t mean I didn’t go when I thought I should and didn’t appreciate that lots of other people somehow thought their experience was meaningful (even if it was just about hanging around at the bar after the sessions).

    I have to admit there is something about having one’s conference ticket punched. There’s a weird kind of internal company credibility earned by just attending, remaining “current,” and building connections.

    I always love this bit of (revised) advice: “It’s not who you know, but who knows you” that’s the asset. Conferences keep us visible in our professions, even though, at a conference I would rather be in my room reading a good book.

    Great post, ~Dawn

    • Thanks Dawn – I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

      I rarely regret attending conferences, seminars, and workshops. It just takes a lot of internal convincing to get me there.
      That being said Impact99 was a really good experience and I enjoyed meeting some of my virtual friends – I was actually disappointed that I had to cut out before I had a chance to truly sit and chat with people. Lesson learned.

      I like your revised advice – it can be very true.


  3. Pingback: Forget thinking…I want to work outside the box | Accidental HR

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