Recently a colleague and I attended a leadership conference. We’d decided months earlier that it would be a good idea to set aside two days for personal and professional development and leadership coaching. As the dates of the event drew near, however, and meetings and projects continued to fill calendars, we began to wonder how we could possibly carve out two days during such a busy week.
We stayed with our plan to attend, and by the end of two full days of excellent speakers and insightful breakout sessions, our mindset changed from how could we attend? to how could we have thought about not attending? In fact, on the trip home we began discussing plans for a larger group to go back next year.
Our story is likely no different from those of many others considering opportunities for personal and professional development. Most people recognize the need for it, but few take the time and actually follow through with a commitment. The good news is that there are so many options with videos, webinars, seminars, and conventions, to name a few, that if someone has the desire, it’s only a matter of setting aside the time to do it.
NATIONAL LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE
The conference we attended was the National Leadership Development Conference at Grand Casino Hinckley, sponsored by the fine folks at Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures in support of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. The four objectives of the event, held annually each June, are for participants to:
- Embrace strengths that make you shine;
- Expand performance threshold;
- Become a strong foundation of talent; and
- Develop decision-making abilities.
Of many great takeaways, one staggering stat was that approximately seventy percent of employees are not engaged in their job.
Another speaker complimented the attendees for participating in the conference, and then challenged everyone to not fall into the ninety-eight percent who get excited to bring energy back to their organization, but end up not applying any meaningful enhancements. These two stats are connected. If the leaders of organizations are only managing, and not leading and inspiring, employee engagement level will reflect that culture. It’s not about controlling, it’s about empowering. Don’t be a boss, be a leader.
Another great discussion centered on technology – email, texting and mobile devices – being such a blessing. And a curse. How many people hide behind email for their internal and external communication? One speaker talked about a company that implemented an “anti-email afternoon” once a week, requiring everyone in the company to walk over and have a conversation with someone rather than emailing them. Have a question for a client? During the anti-email afternoon, employees pick up the phone and call. The result? More business from these clients as conversations evolve into what else that group could do to help the client.
TAKE TWO FOR YOU
Many poignant topics during the two days inspired us to take out our blueprints and reevaluate our game plans. We’d made a decision to carve out a couple of days and are better for it, both individually and organizationally.
So, when will you take two, for you?