Author: stuart

Good Conference / Bad Conference

Hello Conference Season! Good bye money and value… Most of you are going to waste a lot of money as the conference season gets into full swing. Why? Because too many conferences are still tied to a traditional model fit for the twentieth not the twenty-first century. A bad conference provides data. A mediocre conference offers information. A good conference contains knowledge and, yes, an entertaining time. A great, but rare, conference yields wisdom and fulfillment. To improve the quality of conference outcomes, just search the Internet for advice and you’ll find listicles of a type such as “10 Reasons Why Your Conference Sucks” or “Seven Signs of a Successful Conference,” which suggest attention to such details as available parking, wayfinding signs, good food, toilet breaks, greeters and so on. For some, the old model of conferences – great speakers, networks, like minded tribes, the parties – just need to be updated with more relevant curated content and a more sophisticated and entertaining overall experience. If that is all we do, then conferences are terminally …

Onboarding’s Spectacular Failure – Build a Conversational Culture Instead

It remains remarkable that businesses continue to fail at onboarding, and not just fail, but fail spectacularly. Studies indicate that half of all new senior outside hires fail within 18 months, half of all hourly workers leave new jobs within the first 120 days and that 90% of new hires decide within the first six months whether to stay or leave. Further, how many of those that remain are disengaged? The costs to corporate America are massive. To take one metric for example, some estimates suggest that the cost of one failed executive position can reach $2.7 million. These losses are avoidable. Although remarkable, such failure is unsurprising when many organizations treat new hires as commodities to be assimilated into the organization through a series of steps, rote processes and systematic interventions, or through a sink-or-swim apathy. They miss the obvious: new hires are people that require a human-centric approach, not a mechanical, sterile protocol. These are cultures that are conversationally incompetent. The SHRM (Society of Human Resources Management) Foundation’s Effective Practice Guideline Series includes Onboarding …

Books of 2016

In reflecting on what books I would select from this last year of reading, two features quickly emerged. The first is that I leant more heavily into the factual and creative non-fiction genres rather than fiction. Given that observation, I would welcome your suggestions for what fiction I should be reading in 2017. My second observation is that running through these selections is a thematic thread regarding the exploration of the human condition, our quest for meaning and the inquiry into the prosaic and profound experiences that inform our lives. In a tense election year, when a preference for our own individual “facts” outweighed acceptance of universal truths, these works and personal reflections have provided me respite, as well as a literary landscape that offered fresh perspectives on current and perennial issues both moral and matter-of-fact, principled and practical. Unlike other “Best of” year lists, my 2016 selections are of books I have read during the year and not books necessarily written in that year. Fiction All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr I …

TEDxLincoln: Awakening Humanity

For those that missed the event, the video of my talk at TEDxLincoln is now available online (see link below). It was inspired by my journey covering nearly 2,000 miles across Nebraska, stopping in small towns and speaking with residents about their lives, communities and stories. Traveling through conversations, I discovered that we awaken our humanity through the conversational engagement with others. That lesson is even more poignant now. How are you using conversation to awaken our common humanity? Let me know. Click below to watch the video:

50% Off the Art of Conversation Workshop

Improve your art of conversation, invest in team development and discover how to build meaningful, engaged relationships in this signature workshop. Click here to book. If you still have end of year budget left for training and development or are looking for a productive and enjoyable team learning experience, the Art of Conversation workshop is ideal. During December only I am offering 50% off the standard corporate fee of $1,000 for this workshop. Contact me soon to book this session.