“You had to be there” couldn’t be more fitting for this story. One thing is for sure: We were inspired, and we were in the midst of greatness … but we were taking on uncomfortable topics for nearly three days without pause. The 18th annual Business & Leadership Conference (BLC) wasn’t a feel-good conference.
Nicholas Webb, a world-renowned innovation expert described the event as an “advanced willingness of sustained discomfort.” That sounds like a form of torture, but his point was that he had never seen an event (he speaks at 70+ per year) where the audience demonstrated such “intellectual maturity,” as we challenged attendees from the very onset. He was so impressed by the conference that he suggested we do this for a living.
The multigenerational design of BLC hit a home run with everyone. The stage was set with Dr. McPheters, then Morten Hansen, and then Seth Mattison. Three generations represented, and unbelievably powerful delivery of the same challenging messages. All three had a consistent and clear message about attracting millennial talent and pushing the limits on our “inventory of the acceptable” as a major success factor moving forward.
From the opening night awards program through to the very end, the attendees laughed. Jim Morris may have delivered the most inspirational message of all. His humor and authentic approach to storytelling resonated with the entire audience. The takeaway for most was just remembering who you are, and surrounding yourself with people who inspire you rather than tear you down.
Attendees’ heads were spinning with hard-hitting realities. One presenter said our industry is being hacked, and will leave us behind as “connection architects” with the sole desire to make low-risk moves that could lead to low-value outcomes.
Every workshop was special. The “Roadmap to Higher Profits” investor’s workshop was described by one attendee as “the most meaningful presentation I’ve ever been part of.” That session was conducted by industry leaders and financial experts who volunteered their time to prepare and deliver one of our six breakout sessions.
In the multigenerational workshop, I lost control of the room within the first 60 seconds – I asked only one of my 10 prepared questions. Our experts were peppered with questions and comments from a highly enthusiastic audience. It was crazy in there, and could have gone on for days.
But my biggest takeaway of all? I’m getting old. –Chuck Wilson, NSCA Executive Director