Well where do I even start about my first “offical” day at Wisdom 2.0 Conference 2015.
I guess with honesty by claiming the world’s worst hangover this morning, as a result of some pretty awesome partying last night. I had to laugh when I arrived at the conference and the first thing I saw was a quote that said “When you know better you do better” by Maya Angelou. Well, clearly I have some way to go until this applies to me.
But seriously, a little bit of self care and I was up and running ready to go for the conference. Thanks to Austin for his advice and generous spirit in this area 🙂
So, to the conference then. Please also bear in mind that I’m bashing this out in 30 minutes so knock yourself out looking for typos and grammatical errors OK 🙂
The standout for the day was listening to Fred Kofman and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn talking about the “Lessons in Conscious Business at LinkedIn”.
Key points that resonated with me:
- most people talk about their jobs in terms of a small compartment e.g. “I sell this product to this market segment”. In short they are spending their energy on optimising their subsystem within their company. But when you do this you are not optimising the main system, in fact you may lead to its destruction. In fact to optimise the system one must suboptimise the subsystems. In other words, its not that you sell this product to this market segment, its that you work towards achieving a shared vision, and all focus on optimising the main system. Love it. To look at it another way is to look at a body with cancer, each bit of the body is trying to do the best for itself but without a shared consciousness, basically you’re screwed.
- “the best way to do is to be”. I liked this quote and it resonated with Jeff’s purpose behind starting LinkedIn which wasn’t to build a platform but to do good business – to get the intent right, the people right, the vision right, the purpose right, and then to see what came from that. To be honest, I was a little skeptical at first but the more he spoke I came to believe that this was his intent, and it moved me just a little. So if LinkedIn’s key vision is to deliver economic opportunity to every person in the global workforce – how would you use LinkedIn differently, if at all?
- “Wisdom without compassion is ruthlessness; Compassion without wisdom is folly”. This really summed up Fred and Jeff’s strong belief that compassionate leadership and management is the way of the future – and the best way to create an organisation of like minded professionals all fused in one shared vision. Jeff talked about the difficulty of expressing compassion to people you don’t like, whose views you don’t respect, or who you have witnessed being mean to others; and the absolute strength and fortitude that takes. There was a strong theme of mindfulness not as touchy feely and I felt this is a good example to give voice to that.
- Leadership as inspiring others to follow you to achieve shared objectives. They talked about this needing clarity of vision (which mountain to climb), the courage of your convictions in order to be able to overcome adversity, and to be able to effectively communicate this vision and conviction. Fred talked about the analogy that he had of Jeff’s leadership – that was not him rowing a boat and getting everyone rowing in the same direction, but catching a huge maverick wave on a surfboard and inspiring others to want to do the same. If you’ve got this vision, courage and resilience sorted, then just choose the right objective and make sure you surround yourself with the best talent. Sorted 🙂
- The idea of LinkedIn working for them instead of them working for LinkedIn. This resonated with me because I strongly feel that an organisation doesn’t really exist in and of itself, it is made real by the people working in it. I loved the notion of LinkedIn serving them and it worked in this example because there is such strong buy in from individuals to Jeff’s powerful vision.
- The old data vs intuition argument. Man, this is really taking up some headspace for me right now. So Jeff says “CEOs tend to be data driven” and then in the next sentence “people just know it works because they see results in day to day practice”. Before them Julia Hartz of Eventbrite said “we are a data driven organisation” and then later says “really I believe the qualitative more”. I sense that right now we are in a very logical-dominated business arena and everything must be measured to ascertain value. I also think that there will be a movement towards intuition taking more of a role at the decision making table. I guess the challenge for me is to incorporate both, to look for more data to be the balance to my intuition. I suspect for many people the challenge may be the direct opposite.
- Being compassionate yet still demanding excellence. On the subject of compassionate leadership, we talked a little about what to do when you were faced with a difficult situation. If each of us have a circle of compassion then the solution is in extending that circle of compassion and refer it back to the vision. An excellent analogy was given of the mediocre doctor that has a high casualty rate but is a really nice guy. That is clearly not acceptable. And neither is dropping your standards of excellence just to be compassionate. Always refer back to your vision as your guiding light when dealing with these difficult situations compassionately as that is the shared truth to which you are aspiring.
In other news I also discovered that:
- Jeff Weiner has an excellent karaoke voice and he passed on some karaoke tips – avoid your favourite songs from amazing artists (you’ll only sound shite), remember its all in the energy and not the quality of voice – so find something that others can sing along to (even if for no other reason than then they won’t be able to hear you)!
- Sweet Caroline, Lean on Me, Sitting on the Dock of the Bay are great songs apparently for karaoke.
- Gap has an amazing performance system “Performance for Life – Better You, Better Gap”. Loved that sentiment.
- Karen May from Google sees learning as the goal in and of itself; and takes a very holistic view. i.e. maybe its learning on how to be a better parent, or contribute more to society and thats all something that Google will support
But the final word goes to Julia Hartz from her amazing talk about the experience of live events. It seems that her and I share a common life philosophy, in particular about YOLO and FOMO!
- “Say Yes. Live more, do more, feel more”
Perhaps thats the reason I woke up this morning with a hangover?
’til tomorrow 🙂