Have you ever had the experience where you attend a conference, training or learning experience only to return to “work” just after only to find that time restraints challenge your ability to make these learnings a reality?
Having just written about how to get the most out of a conference, I find myself sitting and staring into the accountability mirror deciding what to do now. Here are five disciplines leaders employ to make the most of any conference or training opportunity.
Ensure you have clarity and focus on what to do differently
Clarity is WAY more important than certainty. If you can be clear on the 3-5 things, you need to do differently, then you can begin the process of making them a reality. Be ruthless about getting clarity. Be courageous and aspirational. What changes would give you the biggest return on investment? Write them down, that is a powerful and simple discipline.
When you are clear, you can be confident in taking the next step.
Follow up and connect with new and renewed relationships
The meetings BETWEEN the meetings are just as important as the formal meetings themselves. The people you meet, the connections you make and the relationships that are strengthened can build your leadership in surprisingly amazing ways. WHO was that for you?
I’m not talking about being one of those uncomfortable people who “work the room” in a way that inverts the cringe factor. I’m talking about being a giver, a listener, an encourager. Looking for those meaningful connections, the relationships that you can invest into and can invest into you. Be THAT person.
On this note, is there anyone that you simply need to encourage and say thank you too for the work and effort they put in to make the conference a reality? Acknowledging the work is really important.
Create the time and space to build in new learnings
In your calendar and planning, take some time to be clear on HOW these learnings will become a reality. Do you need mentoring? Is there a resource that will serve you? How do you involve those around you to make it real?
There are many ways you can do this. What would work best for you? Getting up earlier for a few mornings might serve that; a half day of planning and learning also; time to read, reflect and share your journey with others. Whatever pathway you find, go with the one that gives you the most energy and momentum to get it done.
The idea of transformation is not as important as the activity required for transformation.
Involve others around you to ensure accountability and success
Sharing with others what you’ve learned and what you will do differently is the key to putting it into practice and having some relational acceptability around it. For some, involving others will be because you know you need to be accountable. For others sharing it with others helps you sharpen the ideas you may have. Still others include a wider circle so they gain wisdom and encouragement. Whatever your reason make sure you share the changes and make the progress towards them part of your leadership conversations.
Stay humble and curious as you take the next step
The longer I lead, the more I need to learn about leadership, people, wisdom, timing, character and many other important qualities. Steve Jobs made it famous in his Stamford Inauguration speech “Stay hungry, stay foolish.” In other words, don’t settle, be content but not satisfied. Be ever the student and the learner. Be open to learning and relearning. Look for new ways of doing things. Watch carefully how the generation coming through, is breaking new ground. Learn, learn and keep on learning.
Be a student. Everyone teaches you something. Everyone.
PS: What I am implementing as a result of the conference I attended is:
- Reset my weekly schedule with my wife, so we get the most important things done, for our marriage and family, and our work. Thanks Bill.
- Persevere with the direction we are on right now. Thanks Stephen.
- Re-establish my exercise routines. Thanks Phil.
- Continue to grow as a leader who is both courageous AND caring. Thanks Brian.
- Refocus the investment into my wife’s next season in her work, her ministry and our family. Thanks John & Helen.
#leadsmall – because when you do, big things can happen.