Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Childspace - Leading the Way - Conference

30 October - 1 November, 2009 in Wellington at the Brentwood Hotel.

Maree, Jo-Anne and I attended this brilliant conference and this year it was themed around Leadership.  We arrived on Thursday night and had a look around town before getting an early night.

Day One - Friday - we opened with a Keynote from Paula Jorde Bloom (from USA), who talked about the paradoxes we face each day, e.g. we have smaller families and bigger homes, money can buy us a clock but not time, there is more medicine available but our health is no better, etc.  Being a leader can be the best and the worst, sometimes we are the pidgeon and sometimes we are the statue.  Paula outlined 9 paradoxes for developing good leadership skills: cultivate a sense of community AND encourage individual autonomy; promote change AND maintain continuity; encourage diversity of opinion AND promote collaboration; strive for consensus AND make decisions swiftly; look at the big picture AND focus on the details; promote equity AND make exceptions; be thorough AND keep it simple; show compassion AND strive for emotional detachment; acquire wisdom AND affirm ignorance.  Considerations be clear about expectations, count to 10 more often, be committed as much today as you were 10 years ago, give in to laughter.

Toni Christie followed with her Keynote and a big part of her message was about growing teams where the philosophy and culture are the roots.  She has a lovely poster called "Camaraderie, Communication and Conflict" which highlights areas for consideration and looked at a GROW model; Goal (what do we want to happen), Reality (what is currently happening), Options (what are the options for resolution), Will (what will you commit too?).  Monkeys are a big part of understanding leadership and we don't need other people's baggage.  Considerations create a team contract, use the readings to investigate my own leadership model and develop improvements.

Annah Stretton was the 3rd Keynote for the day (prostitute to all charities - her words), Annah has an amazing empire under her wings and she spoke very strongly about making a commitment and working hard to achieve it.  She gets up at 5a.m. every morning and works before breakfast, she even works 2 hours in the morning when she is on holiday, before everyone gets up.  Don't accept mediocrity, business is business - it's not personal, think in black and white - the way men do, always keep learning through clubs, tertiary studies, networks etc.  Considerations I think I would like to find a mentor, I want to be more forthright with issues and get what I need, not what others want, I am also going to set myself some challenges for leadership.

Workshop One - Kate Thornton - Authentic Leadership
Kate got us to think about someone who's leadership we admire (Sir Peter Blake for me) and list all the qualities that you admire.  When all these attributes were put together it seems impossible that one person could be all these things (about 20 from the whole group), so if you can accommodate 80% of people 80% of the time, you are doing really well.  The point was that we can't be everything to everyone, but we can be true to ourselves.  We also did a timeline of our own leadership journey which was a bit of an eye-opener.  The question "what have I learned" bought up the following points

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