Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Leadership Conference

I am now back in downtown Brisbane, extremely thankful that I do not have to endure an day less than 8 degrees.  I recently decided to attend a leadership conference, actually it was a decision between one for people who have a 'Chief' in their title, or one for future leaders.  Given that a peer was going to the other one, I decided I would take the alternative session.

Upon arriving late and sneaking in to any vacant table, I was instantly aware that the audience looked to be about 20 years younger!  Small moment of OMG what have I done.  Regardless of that, I had travelled hours to be there across several states, to time to make the most of being away from my family.

The first speaker was Avril Henry, leadership futurist, how cool would it be to be called one of those?  Her most interesting takeaway points were around the top 12 things that were common amongst 111 best leaders;
  1. integrity, authenticity, trustworthy
  2. develop, coach and mentor their people
  3. inspire their people by showing them how things can be in the future
  4. respect and value diversity
  5. create a compelling vision
  6. open and honest communicators, listening and asking questions first
  7. change enablers
  8. display humility
  9. collaborative and inclusive
  10. flexibility in thinking and working
  11. courageous
  12. tenacious and resilient
Peter Williams made a joke about looking like the AV guy, and that was exactly what I had been thinking.  A guy in his 50's who has seriously embraced technology, and man is he an awesome innovative individual.  Peter talked about scalable efficiency, exciting right?  How about a concept that we buy things at home with a click of the mouse, from anywhere in the globe and it arrives.  Ever tried to order some stationery at the office and waited a week?  Mostly the IT behind that order costs millions to buy and maintain, and the user experience is awful. 

One of his staff hacked the site for profiles within their organisation and gave them a serious spruce up.  Peter went into bat for the employee and managed to convince the organisation to create an electronic sandpit for innovation.  Now they channel pent up development expertise from non developers to design amazing things, for free!  68% of Australians use social media, 70% of management time is about managing exceptions, the digital revolution will continue to come and we need to adapt at a faster pace.  His energy and thought process was amazing.

Elliot Costello a 28 year old guy who has done incredible things for society.  He was inspirational in his quest to give back to others.  His idea created a not for profit organisation that actually made made money in the first year.  YGAP is now focussing on creating sustainable business revenue and has opened a café in Melbourne, but the next step is a restaurant franchise.  When asked what we could do for him, his answer was surprising. Elliot said it is not your money, your time and expertise are much more valuable.  If you want to give, give that.

A panel session with a range of speakers talked about the importance of education or experience.  This was particularly relevant to me as I would like to do an MBA, it is on the list, but I haven't finished it because I actually don't think the return on investment is worthwhile at this particular stage.  And for me, time with a young family is much more important.  But I did take advice around what to do next, and I think I will try to convince my company that $16K for an Executive Program at Melbourne Business School is a fantastic investment.

Jack Delosa a 20 something Managing Director, this guy has entrepreneur as a middle name.  He gave 7 tips about why raw genius is over rated;
  1. deliberate practice, hard work and ongoing learning - Amadeus, Tiger Woods
  2. the bigger the vision, the easier it is to execute - everyone wants to help someone who is going places
  3. make decisions - be a confident leader
  4. not passion - fight, stand up and step up to face into challenges, particularly in the face of adversity
  5. everything's my responsibility, nothing's my fault - I can influence and change something that is within my responsibility
  6. be an investor - be conscious of where you spend your time, effort and money, have a 1 year, 3 year, 5 year and 10 year vision covering career, finance, personal development, relationships, health and fitness and spirituality [OMG this sounds familiar, I love this guy!  My plan is 65 years long and covers 8 categories, but I was so on Jack's wave length]
  7. it takes team work to make the dream work - people, people, people
I left the conference with my little head spinning.  The last few months have been out of balance with work and health, and I have started to lose some focus.  The timeliness of this course reminded me of all the awesome things that people accomplish.  So tonight I have sat in my office and looked at a revised schedule to ensure that I am in investor.  I plan to spend some time each day on two of my goal categories.  That hour will ensure I get back on track and move into a more positive approach and balance to my life.


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