Choosing keynoters for NSCA’s annual Business & Leadership Conference (BLC) is about more than choosing high-profile speakers and finding that elusive funny economist (although we’re proud of our track record of accomplishing both feats).
Even though the event happens only once a year, planning content and choosing speakers is a year-round process. The day after BLC wraps up is the day we begin planning for next year’s BLC.
Our first planning steps identify important areas of focus based on what you tell us:
- We look at industry surveys, including the annual Integration Business Outlook survey
- We sync with NSCA’s Board of Directors to align content with our strategic plans to help members boost business
- We pick the brains of BLC attendees to learn what we can do better – and what they want to know more about
- We challenge company leaders to recognize that, even if their firms are performing well, there are areas where they can improve
Through this process, we identify topics and pain points that NSCA commits to addressing for members in the next year. Those objectives are mirrored in BLC content planning.
Key Areas of Focus for NSCA in 2020
Leading into 2020, for example, NSCA identified the following key areas of focus:
- Talent management
- Industry consolidation
- Business model transformation
- Client expectations, providing value, and creating differentiation
- Managing change
- Codes, regulations, licensure, and compliance
In conjunction with our board members, led by NSCA President Josh Shanahan, we outlined why each factor is significant for NSCA member companies and identified NSCA’s path for assisting in each area. All BLC attendees receive a letter outlining these objectives.
Then we create “swim lanes.” In other words, each challenge has a “lane.” We look at each objective from the standpoint of understanding what type of BLC presenter – directly or indirectly – can help us improve our approach and generate takeaways.
Then we ask every presenter to stay within their area of expertise when they address our audience (or “stay in their lane,” if you will).
Choosing 2020 BLC Speakers
To find keynoters that address these pain points, we identify obstacles faced by integrators when it comes to dealing with them. For instance, one reason integration firms struggle with business model transformation is that they’re often reacting to innovation instead of driving it. How could innovation be led at the integrator level instead – instead of relying on manufacturers to do the heavy lifting? One way: By taking control of innovation for customers to create relevance.
This realization led us to Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg and his “Innovation: Helping Your People Bring Great Ideas to Life” keynote at the 22nd annual BLC. A major shift is happening in client interactions: There’s a focus on business outcomes instead of technical information. Are you ready for this change? Do you have the right people with creative ideas asking the right questions of key clients? Do you know how to establish significant differentiation and heightened value? During BLC, Wedell-Wedellsborg helps us face these questions.
Another common obstacle that seemed to arise is time management. NSCA members struggle with talent management, managing change, paying enough attention to regulations impacting their businesses, and more – in part because they’re trying to do too much while accomplishing too little. NSCA members tell us their days are consumed by tasks that divert them from leading their companies. This led us to the world’s expert on time management: Laura Stack. She talked to integrators about “what to do when there’s too much to do.”
Every pain point, every lost opportunity, every time constraint you tell us about – we analyze it, take a look at obstacles that may be in your way, and align it with an expert who can help. That’s how BLC is put together every year.
The content that we present at BLC – and the keynoters we choose – are points of great pride for NSCA. BLC has been built by NSCA members and for NSCA members, which is reflected in our content.