Thinking about Job Terms

The most important job in the country (aside from parent) is arguably the position of President of the United States. The presidential term is four years. You know when you are elected you have four years to make stuff happen.

What do you think would happen if we extended the terms of conference planning teams? A chair now has TWO years to make the ideal experience. I imagine this would work better for regional rather than national but the idea still stands. Give the conference/event planner two years to reach and make their outcomes a reality.

No more one shot deals. No more let’s cram everything for everyone in one 3-day period.

Two year conference chair positions = raised accountability, raised expectations, raised satisfaction.

What if you job was given a term? Would it change what you do or don’t do? Would it make you more focused or more stressed? Share your thoughts and be extraordinary.

3 Habits Conferences Need to Stop

As part of my daily commute, I ride the train for around 50 minutes each way. Most commuters take this 50 minutes to nap, blare their MP3 player, stare off into space, or people watch. A rare few take that time to read newspapers, kindles, books, Sodokus, etc. I’m one of the rare few.

In just over 2 months I have read over 20 books during my commute. One of the books that I’ve read (thank you Cindy Kane and/or Niki Rudolph for the recommendation, I know one of you rec’d it!) is Leading Change by John P. Kotter.

With any book I read, I fold the corners of pages over to go back later and type out great thoughts, ideas, charts, graphs, whatever made me pause and go, “Hmm” within the book.

In Leading Change, Kotter (1996) lays out the 3 habits of ineffective communication and to me they sound eerily close to what is standard procedure for many conferences.

1. Sending out memos with no follow-up or person-to-person interaction.
2. Making speeches and nothing else. 
3. Memos, speeches, materials but no buy in from senior leaders. (pg 9)

Do those three habits sound familiar? I can check my e-mail now and see random e-mails broadcasting call for programs, conference save the dates, (point 1), advertisements of “look who we have speaking!” (point 2), SSAOs creating their own conferences in their vision (point 3).

We are doing conferences wrong with no good reason as to why. (Yes, I should sound like a broken record by now.) 

The #conf30 agenda is to declare an effort to right these inefficiencies and bring the conference up to par. For more about the Conference 3.0 effort, check out the latest discussion here.

Agree? Disagree? Opinion? Let me hear it. Welcome to the conversation.
Cited: Kotter, J. P. (1996). Leading change. Boston: Harvard Business Press.

Conference 3.0: The Discussion

Right now, you can join the discussion at #SAtech is hosting a conversation about #conf30 TODAY!

On July 3rd, 2012 Kristen Abell (@KristenDom) and I (@JoeGinese) hosted a #CONF30 discussion. What resulted was 548 tweets generating 657,175 impressions and reaching an audience of 48,310 followers (Thank you!)

Kristen actually Storify’d the entire conversation.

Keep scrolling, it’s a long story!