What I Learned at ILSHRM12 — The Sessions

I had the pleasure and privilege to attend the Illinois State SHRM Conference (ILSHRM12) last week, outside of Chicago. Now that I’m home and settled, I am going to share what I learned at the event. Yesterday’s post was about lessons from the Keynote sessions.

Today’s post is about lessons from the Sessions.

  • I got to see Dr. Daniel Crosby in action for the first time at “Becoming a Five Tool Leader.” Just like an ideal baseball player, the ideal leader has 5 toolsintelligence, emotional intelligence, organizational fit, the ability to reframe and technical skills. I think Doc put the final nail in the coffin of the “leaders are born, not made” argument with this! It is clear that leadership is something that can be taught and developed in very practical ways. That is really encouraging for as managers because we are always looking for people step up, take ownership and lead. These tools give us competencies to look for to identify leaders — and areas to focus their development.
  • Joe Gerstandt‘s session on “Putting Diversity of Thought to Work” was a great complement to Dr. Crosby. So often, we reject and punish the people in our workplace who think differently. We avoid them and label them as difficult. Then we wonder why we end up with a company, department, committee, etc of people who look alike, think alike and can’t come up with any different ideas. Difference is good and tension is normal. The key is managing it so that it doesn’t become a hindrance. With all diversity, we must practice tolerance and be open to hearing thoughts that are different from our own.
  • “Optimizing Your Organization’s Structure” was the session led by Rich Sperling. Our org chart should not be created, set in stone and put away never to be addressed again. The design of our organizations are something we need to look at regularly because it gives us the best insight into the flow of work. When employees are disengaged or when work processes become hindered, it is time to look at the way the organization is structured to see if the spans of control have gotten skewed. In these times when companies are pressed more than ever to do more with less, it is important to be mindful and maintain proper spans of control. Otherwise, your organization can spin out of control — some people become über busy while others have almost nothing to do. Monitoring your organization’s structure is the best way to ensure everyone working is put in the optimal circumstance to add value through their contribution.
  • Speaking of doing more with less, Brad Galin‘s session talked about “Shifting from Scarcity to Abundance.” Because of the challenges we often face, we allow ourselves to adopt a “scarce” mentality where we think we will never get out or over our difficulties, we will not have the resources we need and we will be removed or replaced if we share too much of what we know. That is not the way to do business or the way to develop and manage people. It creates unhealthy competition, power struggles and it stifles innovation. When we shift from this mentality to one of abundance, this goes away. We empower people to use resources effectively, to try and to fail without fear, and to demonstrate the organization’s mission and values in their work. This gives them the confidence in themselves and in the organization. And that is what sets the atmosphere for people to do their best work.

Great stuff, right?!? That’s what I love about attending conferences. It reminds us of the simplicity and fundamentals of our profession while arming us with cool, practical tools we can use to put these thoughts to action.

Tomorrow’s post is going to combine my take-aways from the Talent Net Live Event within the Conference and the session led by Sarah White entitled “Candidate Experience — the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” I gained so many wisdom nuggets about the recruiting, hiring and onboarding process that it needed its own post.

Stay tuned.






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