October and November are always a busy time with conferences. In fact, this whole year has been packed full of them.
I’ve been to most of these conferences to speak about HR, HCM, talent management, the social business and social media etc. And my speaking engagements now now account for a sizeable proportion of my business income. They also help get me travelling round the world.
But whenever I attend a conference to speak, I always try to stay for as much of the event as I can. It’s always useful to hear other people talking about the same issues, and I like the networking opportunities too. And I always feel it’s a little arrogant just to turn up, do my bit, and depart. But then that’s just me – I don’t mean any disrespect to those of you who do this. We all have to juggle our commitments.
And of course, staying longer at conferences gives me the opportunity to blog. In fact I’ve recently attended a couple of conferences just to do this – including the InfoHRM one last week, and the CIPD’s annual conference that starts today.
But the main reason I attend conferences when I can is so I can offer the accumulation of all this insight (supported by case studies etc) to my clients.
I was challenged at the ITU conference I attended right at the start of this month whether theory was as important as implementation. Well, yes I do. Clearly both are important, and I’m not going to knock the need for effective implementation – particularly because I’ve based my career on being able to manage and deliver projects well.
But I do feel that we need to be a lot smarter at planning, ensuring that this is supported by what we (the global HR community – practitioners, academics and consultants; psychologists; sociologists etc) know about people and the way their attitudes and behaviours can be influenced and shaped to deliver organisational performance.
Take Dick Beatty (from the InfoHRM conference) for instance. I think there are both some pros and cons to his approach. Organisations need to understand - firstly the sort of approach he recommends, and secondly the benefits, challenges and options around this. If they don’t know all this, no amount of ability to execute is going to give them what they need.
So this is the real reason I attend conferences (and read books, blogs etc). It’s too ensure I can offer knowledge and insight, not just from my own thinking (particularly on HCM and HR2.0), but from other great thought leaders too. It’s this insight, together with the practical experience to implement effectively, that helps my clients create value and gain competitive advantage through their people.