Tuesday, 2 February 2016

#hrevent16 blog #1 of many

Here I am at #hrevent16, the fourth year I have attended this and my first as a speaker. I'm excited about this. I'm going to blog from the event too and share some of the key points from the sessions I have attended. 

The first keynote speech was by Howard Webb, ex Premier League and World Cup final referee. I'd never heard Howard speak except in soundbites before, and he proved to be a brilliant speaker. He focused on the areas he feels are critical to achieving success and high performance. 

His first point was about preparation. Howard advised us invest in your personal skills and knowledge bank account so that it is topped up ready for use whenever you need it. He gave examples of how he uses downtime in between his public performances to top up his skills. 

His second point was teamwork and Howard gave some excellent examples about how his support crew, linesmen, needed to be at top performance as well and how he worked with them to ensure they would provide the best possible support to him, and how his success was as a result of their performances rather than his own. 

His third point was about dealing with pressure. A referee is clearly a very visible component of a match but seeks to be anonymously successful by making no mistakes. A strange concept. He talked about dealing with media scrutiny and about performing under the pressure of millions of people watching, and ensuring he trained for such things. 

His fourth point was decision making. A leader needs to make decisions, and have courage to do so knowing they are expected to do so, have trust in their team and take the time to do so (even if that time is only seconds). His advice was to trust ones gut instinct, as he feels you only get to the top in leadership by trusting your gut instinct. Howard showed some excellent video footage to back up this point, and advised us to watch and learn from, react to, other people's reactions, in order to seek evidence that your gut reaction is right or wrong. 

His fifth point was about reflection and learning. It's easy to attach yourself to a decision emotionally, but very important to sit back and reflect and evaluate on the entire performance. Don't just focus on what went wrong and learn from that, but focus on what went right and learn from that too. 

His sixth point was on communication, and using the full range of communication signals particularly non verbal signals. Eye contact and body language are exceptionally important for a leader particularly when, as with a referee, there are often significant language barriers preventing good verbal communication.

Howard's speech was funny, entertaining and full of interesting and relevant lessons for any leader who has to act under pressure. 

Gary