Autumn seems to be conference season in the Lean community. I’ve attended events hosted by the Colorado Lean Network and the Michigan Lean Consortium in the past few weeks.
Conferences are great opportunities to learn something new and to network with like minded professionals. The greatest reason, for me, to attend these events is to check my thinking.
“I’ve Been Going About This All Wrong”
At the end of a breakout session related to Lean leadership, a fellow attendee paused before standing up. The other attendees made their way out of the room while she and I remained. The expression on her face communicated to me a sense of disappointment while she slowly shook her head from side to side, saying to herself “No.”
We made eye contact long enough that I thought it inconsiderate to just walk away. I asked “What’s on your mind?”
She replied “I’ve been going about this all wrong.”
We talked briefly about her situation and I offered to continue the conversation over the phone in the coming weeks and months, if she thought it would be helpful.
We exchanged business cards. It turns out she’s the top of her organization. While she was disappointed, I was encouraged by her experience.
This is The Moment You’ve Been Waiting For
This moment was the purpose for attending the conference. While it’s humbling and painful to come the realization that one’s course of action is “all wrong,” it’s an accomplishment realize it. The negative emotional experience that goes along with it is an intrinsic motivator to change one’s ways.
Attending conferences, even for a day, gives a momentary break from our day to day business and take a broader look at how we go about our business. By letting go of the day to day for a moment, we open our minds to new ideas.
Every once in a while, we come across a nugget of wisdom that knocks us back onto our heels and disrupts our thinking enough to completely change course–for the better.