It’s easy to see why anyone could have trepidation when it comes to dealing with today’s speed of change. Keynote speaker Robert Safian said the chaos is neither good nor bad, but it is real and must be acknowledged and dealt with. “The world is changing. It’s changing at a pace that we haven’t seen before, and we’re not really trained for it, and we have to retrain ourselves to be able to make the most of it,” Safian told Alabama NewsCenter. “The opportunities with all of this change are spectacular, but you have to open yourself up to those ideas.”
In the 1930s, psychologist B.F. Skinner put rats in boxes and taught them to push levers to receive a food pellet. They pushed the levers only when hungry, though. To get the rats to press the lever repeatedly, even when they did not need food, he gave them a pellet only some of the time, a concept now known as intermittent variable rewards. Casinos have used this same technique for decades to keep us pouring money into slot machines. And now the technology industry is using it to keep us checking our smartphones for emails, for new followers on Twitter, or for more “likes” on photographs we posted on Facebook.
One of my colleagues in Silicon Valley shared an experience with a programmer who wanted to work on a project. The programmer was quirky in the extreme; he wouldn’t look the project lead in the eye and spent most of his time staring intently at his own shoes. The interview was awkward, with the programmer talking at length about his video game play, while responses on work topics were monosyllabic.
Millennials are the largest, most diverse, most educated and most connected generation of our time. At 80 million in the United States alone, they are a critical demographic to attract to your meetings and conventions. While older professionals seek the traditional meeting model, millennials are looking for something more interactive. Instead of a speaker giving a presentation for an hour, they would rather have the majority of that hour be Q&A. This is a generation that wants to be heard and have conversations instead of listening to a presentation straight through. The PCMA Education Foundation found that “old-school” meeting formats are the number one repellant for millennial attendees. It’s time to change the traditional speaker and panel formats to incorporate technology and audience participation.
There is nothing like a near-death experience to make you acutely aware of how much we rely on medicine and the healthcare system. I suffered a massive heart attack in March 2012 and nearly died. The doctors saved me. Since that terrifying event, I have tracked developments in technology, medicine, and wellness carefully. All along, I wondered why so much health care aimed at saving us after we fell ill rather than at keeping us healthy and spotting the problems well in advance. People in the healthcare sector call such an approach wellness care, or preventive medicine.
It is remarkable, with so much knowledge of modern management practices, that only a small number of companies manage to generate significant revenue from new businesses. Surveys of senior executives indicate that only 6 percent are satisfied with their company’s innovation performance.
I have been around the speaking world since the mid-80s and have seen a radical transformation in the industry; Catalogs gave way to websites…VHS cassettes gave way to YouTube videos…faxes and mail gave way to email and Dropbox. The digital era continues to change the rules, yet many bureaus and agents are missing how important some of these rules have become. These “blindspots” are costing them lost sales and marketshare. And all of these can be fixed.
To wrap up the 2018 VM Summit, Robert Safian, founder of Flux Group and former editor-in-chief of Fast Company engaged the audience through four lessons and seven questions. His aim was to showcase the kind of tactics that define the modern company. These lessons and questions that Safian went through explored office and organization culture and the need for businesses to focus on “missions.”
By Mike Humphrey (originally published on LinkedIn)
There is a familiar frustration with organizations regarding speakers. You pay them good money to deliver a speech that really means something to your audience, and in turn, your organization. You conduct pre-event phone calls and send packets of info with the speaker. Yet they walk on stage with relatively the same speech they always deliver. It is a good speech, but might have been so much better…it could have spoken directly to the audience and made the impact that you had hoped for.
There is blood everywhere. And lithe, scantily clad bodies. Music thrums hypnotically. Laughter rings. A weapon is drawn menacingly. Hundred-dollar bills float down through the fog. And don’t forget the cats: Aren’t they cute??
This is the modern media scape: An adrenaline-fueled, dopamine-engineered, titillating, exhilarating, unending plea for your ears, eyes, and mind. The channels are phone and screen, earbud and headset, social and search. The pace is relentless, and exhausting. Yet. We. Just. Cant. Stop. In today’s Attention Economy, any brand or business that wants to establish or maintain its relevance needs to grapple with these realities. Donald Trump has risen to the most powerful position in the world by deftly exploiting attention—indeed, he may be the most deft practitioner in the modern era. His any-hour-of-the-day tweets and off-the-cuff comments are too provocative to ignore. Just ask anyone at CNN.
One of the key differences between being a manager and being a leader is the focus from what you do in business to how you get things done. How do you enable employees who have good ideas to build upon them in a safe environment and make them great, free from the burden of bureaucracy? How do you start from a place of trust and measure results, not just in increments of time, but also by creative pursuits, productivity, and overall outcome?
First he was a well-known optimist in Silicon Valley, now Vivek Wadhwa warns against the downsides of technology.“Social media is used as a weapon against ourselves and we are unhappy about it.”
Vivek Wadhwa has made a huge turn in recent years. The legendary entrepreneur, writer and keynote speaker originally made his name as one of the most prominent ‘cheerleaders’ of Silicon Valley. He was closely involved with Singularity University, an almost evangelistic club that has been hammering on the huge promises of the technological revolution in recent years. He taught at Stanford University, the Silicon Valley nursery school, and wrote optimistic books and columns about the future.
In a conversation I had recently with a prospective coaching client, they explained that they were not yet ready to move forward because “of other priorities”.
Are there any priorities higher than effective and inspiring leadership?
The way I see things, every problem we are suffering from in the world is a leadership problem. And every triumph and success we are achieving in the world is a triumph for excellent leadership. The bigger the challenges, the larger the dreams, and the greater the scale of influence—then the greater the importance of outstanding leadership.
Therefore, are there any priorities higher than becoming a better, more successful and more inspiring leader?
By Kim Mikus, originally posted on the Daily Herald
Speed matters, as does a willingness to embrace new tactics and change in the workplace in order to grow as a company, award-winning national journalist Robert Safian told more than 500 business leaders Friday.
Safian has interviewed the most innovative CEOs in the country and shared what he has learned from stories he has written about them for Fast Company, Fortune, Time and other magazines. He was the keynote speaker at the annual Big Event breakfast at Marriott Lincolnshire held by Lake County Partners, celebrating its 20th anniversary.