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Culture, value and astronauts, what more could you possibly want?

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Chris Hadfield

Chris Hadfield

I love conferences.  What could be better than going to a place filled with people that want to share their knowledge and experiences with you?

Looking at the conference schedule for PINK14 what occurred to me were just how many people there are out there that want to relinquish ownership of their insight and experiences to help others and their organizations to grow, develop and thrive.

My Favourite Keynotes

The opening keynote from celebrated retired astronaut and social media superstar Cmdr Chris Hadfield was awe-inspiring.  I thought that Jo Salter, keynote at ITSM13 was the most fearless person I had heard speak for flying a fighter jet, but I think being shot up into space sat on a rocket kind of takes the biscuit.

Cmdr Hadfield’s messages were simple:

  • The right team can achieve anything.  Even when there are cultural and language divides if you work together with a good leader then anything is possible

 

 

  • Plan to fail not succeed.  In order to be ready for anything that is thrown at you it has to be planned for and you have to learn from those potential failures.  It’s no good being stuck not knowing what to do 220 miles above the earth.
    • Even the most complicated and dangerous of changes can be implemented quickly AND safely.  If they can organize a spacewalk in a day I’m pretty sure we can get our changes turned around faster!

Inspirational speaker and social entrepreneur Caroline Casey gave an impassioned and thought provoking keynote on disability and how differences in people should be valued and respected.

Being diagnosed legally blind at a young age Caroline relived her experiences of being treated differently once those around her knew the truth and about her personal struggles functioning after admitting to herself that she had a disability.  I am positive to the point of being irritating and yet I am unsure whether I would have stayed this way had I had to overcome the difficulties Caroline has experienced in her life.  I left the keynote feeling humbled and determined.

Caroline’s challenge to attendees was to change the mindsets and behaviors surrounding disability for yourself, your organization and those around you. Takeaways from this highly motivational session are that failure should never end you or define you and positivity can get you through anything.

 

A Selection of Sessions I attended

Expanding ITSM Beyond IT: Providing Real Value to the Business – Joshua Smith, Mohawk Industries

Widening the scope of ITSM into other areas of the business interests me greatly and having experience of accidentally achieving this at a previous company I was interested to see how Mohawk Industries had actually planned and succeeded in this.

Joshua’s session was a case study into how they had first searched for the teams/departments using spreadsheets and notepads to record what they do in order to make the most impact and show other areas of the business what could be achieved.

If this is an area you are interested in I recommend checking out the slides via Pink Elephant when they are available.

The Clarity Principle: How Great Leaders Make the Most Important Decisions in Business (& What Happens When They Don’t) – Robin Hysick, Pink Elephant

Robin’s session was based on a book of the same name authored by Chatham Sullivan.  The principles of the session were that your organization must find purpose and clarity to create your guiding path and succeed.

 

This session was coded as Beginner and although I think that the information contained gave an interesting overview to practitioners on how a business or organization should be run to succeed there wasn’t much in the way of salient advice on how to achieve this from a lower position of authority.

Perhaps a section on who each session would be most suitable for could be added to next years schedule?

Change the Culture, Change the Game – Troy DeMoulin, Pink Elephant

Another session based on a book of the same name, this time by authors Roger Connors and Tom Smith.

I’m going to hold my hands up now and say that I didn’t look online for the full session descriptions.  Next time I will as I think I would maybe have chosen different sessions as I am an avid reader and everyone knows that movies are never as good!

I have to say though I really did enjoy this session.

Troy started the session with a confession that until he read this book he believed that you could change behavior but not culture – something that I was inclined to agree with.  By the end of the session however I could see that by not treating being accountable as something that happens to you and your team when you mess up, but as a necessary and positive step towards growth, both the behaviour and the culture of the organization can change.

I can’t wait to dig deeper by reading the book.

Conclusion

On a general note I have to say that the speakers were of a very high calibre with good content.  The session rooms were generally heavily undersubscribed and several attendees noted that it would have been better to have fewer sessions and fuller rooms.

As a testament to Pink and The Bellagio it was only when the conference had finished that I noticed I had not complained about uncomfortable chairs, sun shining in my eyes or not being able to hear speakers properly.  Praise indeed from me.

My only real issue with the conference was the lack of a set lunch period.  I understand completely why this was done but found that on certain days I could go to a much looked forward to session or have lunch, not both.  Sorry Karen Smith but a girls got to eat!  Hope to catch another session soon.

All in all a fabulous experience which I hope to repeat.

Thank you to everyone that took part in making PINK14 such a wonderful experience.

Image Credit

 

 




1 Response to " Culture, value and astronauts, what more could you possibly want? "

  1. Actually I was making the opposite point in the tweet you quoted. (the danger of Twitter) . We rush in to fix things in minutes or hours, sometimes making the situation worse. Even though the space station was leaking, NASA spent a full day thinking through all the issues and scenarios before opening the door. (And they considered that rushed. Normally they’d plan fir a week before going outside). I’d have been out there in minutes with some chewing gum.