By Sabrina Smith
After years of holding our event in Orlando, we took a break and headed to Las Vegas this year, and the MGM Grand did not disappoint! Reflecting on the plane ride home, I took some time to review the social media conversation on Twitter (#Perspectives14) and loved reading that “this Perspectives wasn’t just fun, it was inspiring!” Our theme this year was “Innovate, Influence, Impact” and the speakers were fantastic!
Fortune Magazine’s Manager of the Century was our opening guest speaker and in the words of John Ambrose, “he rocked the house.” This legendary leader was in attendance at Perspectives in part to announce the launch of Welch Way presented by Skillsoft, a collection of six immersive online learning programs featuring Jack Welch’s strategies and best practices on management and leadership. Jack had the audience engaged, laughing and answering tough questions with his no-nonsense straight talk.
My favorite points that were addressed in his message include:
- Find a better way every day.
- Candid does not mean being rude, it means searching for the truth.
- Be the sweeper, get stuff out of the way so your employees can get the job done (think Winter Olympics sport curling).
- Everyone is a mentor.
- A learning organization is the ultimate competitive advantage.
Our SVP Strategy and Corporate Development, John Ambrose, shared with us his thoughts on Big Data and more specifically what Skillsoft’s plans are to harness it. He talked about how employees are deluged by data and interruption or “squirrels”—texts, voice mails, conference calls, meetings, emails. The overwhelmed employee checks their phone—wait for it—150 times per day (Deloitte HCM study).
So…what is the antidote to data overload? Paradoxically it’s big data. John shared with us initial results of Skillsoft’s work in its multi-phase joint development effort with IBM that leverages the power of big data in enterprise learning. And he taught us that “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas…as data.”
This was a keynote unlike any other that I’ve experienced. A self-described disruptive strategist, Erik is an internationally recognized graffiti artist, author and entrepreneur. Pulling from his history as a businessman and an artist, Erik’s on-stage paintings seamlessly became a visual metaphor to the core of his message, encouraging organizations toward profitability through innovation and superior levels of performance.
He challenged us to stop the glorification of busy and encouraged us that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. As he asked the question, “How are you going to reignite that childlike imagination as a leader in your organization?” I jotted down a few themes:
- If you want to grow your organization you have to grow your people.
- Sometimes it pays to take a risk.
- FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real.
- Fear kills performance and cripples opportunities.
- If we are afraid of being wrong we will never come up with anything new.
For Skillsoft Leadership Channel™ and Advantage customers, Erik’s presentation is available on demand as an archived Live Event.
Kieran King’s anti-panel, six 5-minute speeches by an A-list roster of industry experts, became a giant note- passing session on Twitter. Reviewing the Twitter feed real-time while these amazing folks gave their speeches, it was clear that there was no shortage on inspiration. And of course David Vance of the Center for Talent Reporting (TDRp) charmed us with his usual “telling it like it is” style!
The customer-led breakout sessions were exceptional and relevant. All of the inspiration was set within the usual fun at two evening poolside events, a night of theater at KÀ by Cirque du Soleil, and many chats over lunches and morning coffees. The camaraderie between the attendees is always a personal highlight for me.
In her keynote address, Lyn Heward, the Former President of the Creative Content Division of Cirque du Soleil, shared with us that complacency is the biggest risk you can take. That our fears make us cautious and we need to practice risk taking and make a few mistakes. “Creativity is all about courage.”
What risk will you take?
Sabrina Smith, a Skillsoft Regional Account Executive, traditionally recaps Skillsoft Perspectives within her team—this year we’re sharing her point of view on the Skillsoft blog.