Friday, April 8, 2011

Leadership Conference, Day 1+2

Hello, blogosphere. I haven't forgotten about you. I've been away at a leadership conference...the one that my boss mentioned last week.

**This will be a blog post about work related stuff. Card making will resume either tomorrow or Sunday. This would be a good time to close the window if you don't want to read my babble about this leadership conference.**

This has been a really good conference so far! I know that sounds kinda cheesy, but wow, I'm actually learning stuff. The facilitators are really energizing, and their positive energy has been inspiring and infectious. I came to the conference with a colleague and to be honest, we don't talk much at the office because our programs don't really collaborate. This was a perfect opportunity to get to know her better and do some bonding. I've also met some people that work in my building, but for a different organization. I hope that the group of us can meet up around the office and catch up sometime in the future. I think that'd be really great for networking purposes.

Two of the things that I've learned during this conference:
  • Personal observation: There was a discussion about personal change styles. I identified myself with the "conservers"- people who accept the structure, are conventional, are predictable, may appear cautious and inflexible, may focus on routine. The other options were "pragmatists" and "originators"...basically, these people are more open to change. The facilitator asked us to raise our hands depending on which category we saw ourselves in. Out of about 50 people, I was the only one that raised my hand and identified myself as a conserver. Whaaat? I didn't know that until the facilitator said something. I was sitting in the front of the room so I had no idea that no one else raised their hand. After about a 5-second pause, another guy raised his hand. Uh oh. Hm. Even though I semi-singled myself out during this exercise, I'm happy that I had the guts to admit that I'm a person that appreciates habit. However, the take-away message from me from that exercise was "change isn't always better, but in order to be better, you have to change."
  • General observation: Networking and being able to engage in small talk takes practice. I'm not really comfortable with small talk. However, I found that, at least at this conference, you just have to find something in common with the other person. It can be anything. For me, it was fashion (I complimented someone on her bag) and location (I started talking to one of the participants because I noticed that she worked in my building). This was a good exercise to get me out of my comfort zone.
True to conference protocol, I ate all day. There was food everywhere. To balance that out, I went to the facility gym to get a workout in and it went surprisingly quickly because I was busy thinking of two initiatives I hope to pitch to my boss next week (one about bridging programs and another about providing staff with a professional development opporutnity in house). I mean, I am attending a leadership conference and I'm feeling inspired to be more proactive within my organization. I needed to write this down and put it in public view so that I'd hold myself accountable for these goals.

Ok, that's enough work talk for now. I'm going to go watch Raiders of the Lost Ark on tv. :)


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