Thursday, 5 November 2015

CIPD Conference Blog #9 of many (penultimate one)

So I made it to the final session at #cipd15. Immediately prior to this I made a final sweep of the exhibition floor and SHAMELESSLY obtained many free gifts. 

I figure I was doing the exhibitors a favour and saving them having to carry them home. 

Anyway, this is my penultimate blog for the conference, I'll do a final one in a day or so commenting on the whole experienced and summarising what has happened. So this is the last one to focus on one particular session. 

And boy am I tired. 

I didn't realise how tiring it would be to type and listen at the same time. 

Some of you are surprised that a man can even do two things at once. Get over it. 

So here I am listening to Herminia Ibarra talk about Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader. 

She wins the prize of being the only speaker who has actively tweeted me during the conference. So immediately she's onto a winner with me. 

Herminia is talking about leadership in a new world. This should build upon many of the themes explored during the conference. 

She went out amongst the audience to illustrate some points and this was an interesting move by a keynote speaker, one I will definitely try to imitate. The point she was making was to try to own the room when teaching, and it worked. 

She carried on, highlighting the difference between insight, based on internal knowledge and past experiences, to outsight, based on the opposite. She said you can act your way into new ways of thinking. 

And yet outsight is strategising, one of the things that C level executives say they don't spend enough time doing. And it's because it takes too much time to devote the time to even something we know we should. 

It's what Ibarra calls the Competency Trap, focusing on things you do well and easily, and things you enjoy. 

She highlighted the difference between being a hub or a bridge. Hubs manage, monitor, assign roles and set goals. Bridges align goals, network, develop team members, and more besides. Leaders need to be bridges. Managers can be hubs. 

She challenged us to redefine our jobs - scan the environment, step outside your main area, delegate routine work, broaden your network and be the bridge.  She mentioned the need to think of ourselves as leaders of our networks, as opposed to leaders of our teams. Or both if we can. 

I'd never considered myself a leader of my own network and yet now I think about it and look back, there are occasions when I know I have been and I can spot some bridge-related activity in hindsight.

But I don't do this often, or haven't to date. Maybe I could do more in future. 

The concept of ones own network was then developed further by Ibarra, who looked at the top determinants of chemistry in a professional relationship. Similarity came out tops. 

She helped us to look at how we can use our networks to leverage success, and how it is sometimes important that different parts of your network remain separate and don't overlap with each other. The moment everyone knows everyone else, you as the centre of the network become redundant. 

It also makes it very difficult to reimagine yourself and reinvent yourself in an existing network, you need to have a broader network or a new one. 

Funnily enough the experience of this conference and being in the Blogsquad, plus blogging in general since March and building a wider social network via Twitter and LinkedIn, has done this for me. Partly that's been deliberate to prepare me for a new future and building on some previous feedback, but partly it's just happened. But I can see how my new network relate to me in a different way than older networks who recall earlier versions of me. 

One of my early posts was called Regeneration, and that was the point I was making then. When The Doctor regenerates in Doctor Who he often either a) struggles to relate to existing companions and / or b) gets new companions who don't know the old Doctor. 

So Ibarra is developing The Regeneration Principle. And about time too. 

Ibarra then went on to talk about authenticity, being true to yourself, being sincere and acting with integrity. I've blogged a lot of personal reflections on this early on in my blogging this year, looking at the masks we wear and so on. But it's good advice and authenticity is essential if a leader is to develop and flourish. 

She encouraged us at the finish to be more playful with ourselves in order to become more authentic. And again this echoes some of my own earlier blog posts and some themes I've explored in my posts about networking, getting out of my comfort zone and reinventing myself. 

So a lot of Ibarra's content resonated a lot. And I hope it's working for me. 

It's been interesting to listen to Ibarra and some of the other speakers and I've really enjoyed it. I'll do a summary reflective blog post in a day or so, but right now I'm signing off and running for a train. 

Till next time. 

Gary

Ps in other news, I am looking forward to spending time with my family having missed them quite a lot this last 48 hours. Counting the minutes....