by Betsy Barbieux, CAM CFCAM / Published January 2015
Conferences, conventions, and workshops are excellent events to grow your knowledge base, extend your network, and step outside your little world and see how everyone else operates! Books can provide you with invaluable information when you don’t have time to actually attend educational events. But books don’t offer any networking!
Just one “ah ha” moment will be worth the price you paid to attend the event. Resolving just one issue while networking will be worth the time off from work. Refining a procedure so you save time, money, and energy is worth the pile of work you’ll return to on Monday.
Here are some “take aways” from the Lake Sumter Society for Human Resource Manage-ment (LSSHRM) Conference in Leesburg, Florida, the CAI National Conference in Orlando, and a good book.
At the LSSHRM Conference, JJ Jarrell reminded us of 10 Leadership Blind Spots:
• Going it alone—Symptoms:
Not asking for help, not accepting help, not talking about stress, and not including others in the decision.
• Being insensitive to your impact on others—Symptoms: Judging others on their behaviors but expecting them to judge us on our intentions.
• Having an “I know I am right” attitude—Symptoms:
Having an answer for everything, rigid and fixed views, lack of intellectual curiosity, not listening, diminishing what others have to say, arguing with everyone who does not agree with your point of view, or refusing to explore alternatives and options.
• Avoiding difficult, crucial conversations—Symptoms: Procrastination—hoping “it” will get better or go away.
• Blaming others or circumstances—Symptoms: Using words like “yeah” or “but” could indicate you are shifting the blame.
• Treating commitments casually—Symptoms: Not keeping commitments, not fulfilling promises on time, always maintaining an “escape hatch,” not providing a clear commitment (or a non-commitment).
• Conspiring against others—Symptoms: Sometimes called being “Minnesota nice,” this is a passive-aggressive response. “When I’m angry at someone, I don’t let them know. I just smile pleasantly to his or her face and then proceed to talk about them behind their back. I will most likely hold a grudge too.”
• Withholding emotional commitment—Symptoms: Not demonstrating to your employees or team that they “belong” to the team, that they provide specific “value” to the team, and their contribution to the team serves a greater “purpose.”
• Not taking a stand—Symptoms: Not being able to make a timely decision, articulate it, and follow through with the steps needed to implement and conclude the decision.
• Tolerating good enough and mediocrity—Symptoms: While mediocrity is good enough in some situations such as ordinary, daily chores, for a person or organization to excel, there must be a strategic longing and a striving for more, for better. “Settling for the ‘status quo’ is never reaching for greatness.” — JJ Jarrell
The best “take away” from Phillip Russell, Esq., Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., who specializes in employment litigation, was: “Employers don’t fire people fast enough—get the toxic employee out—now.”
The LSSHRM keynote presentation by J. Lenora Bresler, J.D., SPHR, ASC, and owner of Bresler Training, gave us more questions to ask during an interview. Here are a few you can add to your interview process.
• What is the greatest compliment that has or could be paid to you?
Note to interviewer—the preferred answer comes from the past. If the answer is future, it is possible they have never done anything that merits a compliment.
• What learning experience has had the biggest impact on you and why? Note to interviewer—most likely, this answer will involve a failure and how they grew out of that failure or disappointment.
If they can’t answer, they are most likely not a person of introspection or able to analyze a bad situation and learn and grow from it.
Speaking at the CAI National Conference, Stephen Harvill, clearly laid out the need for an organization to be able to tell its story—and tell it in a simple form using word pictures to involve as many senses as possible. He distinguished “telling your company story” from “telling us about your business.” He left us with three points to include in crafting your company story:
• What do you do?
• What value do you bring?
• How are you different?
He reminded us that crafting the answers to these three questions must involve energy, emotional momentum, and stories. His final words were to keep it simple and remember the Rule of Three—the brain doesn’t process well more than three items at a time. (DBCA 102, 103, and SPARK offered by Florida CAM Schools provide most of the information you need on crafting your company story.)
During the Ignite breakout session at the CAI National Conference, eight speakers demonstrated how your company story (or any story for that matter) could be told in only five minutes using 20 PowerPoint slides timed at 15 seconds apart!
Kevin Wallace and Alan Misen reminded us to “understand the journey from the customer or resident’s point of view.” We walked through a typical ARB application process from management’s point of view and a second time from the resident’s point of view. The journey for each one was vastly different!
If you want to refresh or refocus your business or organization be sure to read The Advantage, by Patrick Lencioni. Using the best principles from his other books, readers will identify why their businesses have lost their competitive edge. He puts forth a very clear and doable solution. If you take time to go through his simple exercises, you’ll have a new business plan that will be no more than two pages long and immediately executable. So be sure to read more and get out of the office to learn, do some networking, and solve a problem.