Boulder and Bolder — HR Florida 2013

Last week, I had the pleasure and honor to attend the 2013 HR Florida State Conference & Expo with over 2000 other HR professionals from all over the pan-handle state … And it was awesome!

The conference kicked off with Aron Ralston, the hiker who became trapped in a canyon, cut off his own arm to get free (yes, you read that right. He CUT OFF HIS ARM!!! The movie 127 Hours was based on his experience. I’m too chicken-poo to watch it, but you should) and hike back to safety. I’d seen Ralston’s story on an episode of Dateline several years ago.  It was chilling … I wondered how his story would relate to HR — other than the obvious: nothing an employee could do or say would ever be worse than having to cut off your arm.

The answer became obvious about 5 minutes into Ralston’s talk. And his sobering tale mesmerized the room and haunted the remainder of the conference … The boulders in our life are a blessing. They help us determine what is really important in our lives. They force us to slow down, focus and make deliberate, purposeful and strategic decisions. They make us act with boldness and bravery. They demand we leave behind the things which no longer serve us. Being caught between a rock and a hard place will drag us to and through the dark places that will ultimately lift us to new heights.

In our HR lives, our boulders are numerous — difficult employees, unsupportive executives, changing legal landscape, resistance to technology, etc. And in our every day lives, there are just as many boulders. But if we can focus and remember what’s truly important, we can find a way to overcome our boulder to become … bolder!!

Armed with this message, I made my way thru excellent sessions on employee investigations, HRIS system implementation, wage & hour compliance, building total reward programs and how to retain top talent over the 2 1/2 day event. Each session was packed with HR wisdom nuggets and tips to arm participants with best practices. Each session was also packed with people!! So packed that I got locked out of a couple of sessions I wanted to attend because the fire marshall said the rooms were full. I didn’t fret because every concurrent timeslot had at least 2 or 3 things worth seeing.

I left feeling refreshed and inspired to tackle the boulders before me with boldness in the remaining months, weeks, days and hours of 2013. I also left with lots of thoughts ideas on what HR Conferences need to be more successful and meaningful — and how I can contribute to making things even better.

More on that tomorrow.

Until then, check out my HR Florida Conference lead-in posts over at HR Florida State Council blog, The HR Mouth of the South:

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