I think Jackie Orme’s final tweet on the conference was probably quite accurate, and that in addition, the three themes she identifies provide a reasonable summary of the conference as a whole.
So I’m going to review these areas further as my summary of the event. I’m putting transparency first, as I think many organisation’s focus on authenticity is a reaction to a more transparent environment, rather than a deep desire to be more honest with people (a view that is supported by Helen Rosethorn’s comment that authenticity in today’s socially networked and transparent world is laid bare). Incidentally, I don’t think the difference in these perspectives is that important as long as the commitment to action is the same.
The need for transparency was something that was at the heart of many of the presentations, and was at least referred to in many more.
So, Sarah Redshaw described how Unilever had maintained engagement though change by communicating in an honest, compelling and transparent way about the brutal truth of their situation just over one year ago. And Martyn Worsley talked about the role that open and transparent communication with all employees played in the merger of Bank of New York and Mellon some time before.
The point is that employees expect it, and if they don’t get it, they’re probably now going to find out about whatever it is anyway. And then you just look ridiculous. Plus it reduces trust, engagement, alignment, collaboration - everything you want in a knowledge based organisation or environment.
It’s why I do think Shaa was right in singling it out as the biggest and most important change in leadership. And I’ll come back to this.
See my other conference posts.