#WBF09 Day 1 – Experiencing the World Business Forum

I’m new to this – being an official blogger at a conference.  I have to tell you I love it.  Hear ye, hear ye.  Anyone who needs an official blogger to share the conference with the outside world live and real-time, just let me know.  These are the fastest two days of the year!

The World Business Forum has been amazing from the organization (great work HSM) to the speakers (not a slouch in the bunch) to the audience (some great questions whether the speakers can see them or not).  And, I’ve done a few conferences in my time. This one is different for me, but it could be my vantage point in blogger’s row viewing from the balcony in Radio City Music Hall.  Not a bad seat to be had.

The first speaker was Bill George who we had the opportunity to meet the evening before at a little reception he had where we received a copy of his new book 7 Lessons for Leading in Crisis.  Bill gets to the heart of the real issue – taking responsibility and being accountable. Stepping up.  He asked us, and now I ask you, “Are you willing to step up and make a difference in a crisis?”  Well, are you? 

Next we had Bill Conaty, who wasn’t popular with the bloggers.  He’s old school.  Has that old management-style feel and just came to share experience and observations.  As a result, he wasn’t very entertaining, yet quite insightful.  His perspective is that the HR department is the “trustee of the social system.” How true. So, Bill, why do I see HR departments all over the country concentrating only on regulating policy and measuring compliance?  Hum.  There’s a void! Less attention to the lubricating the social systems than the legal system. I’m sure this is a contributor to the mistrust we heard is continuing to build throughout organizations.  Hum. Might that be an opportunity?

Pat Lencioni is simply a rock star. If you don’t own a copy of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, you should. He’s totally “new school” management in principle, practice and attitude. He sees the future requires a different understanding and approach. He wants to help organizations adapt. Now, pay attention and follow leaders like Pat who will take us in a new management direction. What I liked most is his ability to share wisdom, faith and hope. It’s motivating. This is how we change the future and build better economic strength in our companies while bringing everyone along. How do you lead?  Do you build teams that thrive? This will be a key competitive advantage of the future, for sure.

I really wanted to see T Boone Pickens because I suspected he would be an incredible man.  He is.  And he’s on a noble mission. Visit this link to join his cause and be part of the “Picken’s Army.” Yes, He’s honestly about we the people rather than we the bureaucrats.  I can only hope that he succeeds – if anyone can, he will.  He’s honest, knowledgeable, and focused.  He has a southern charm I really miss now I live in DC.  My favorite quote was this when asked how his companies would benefit from his initiatives. “If I wanted to make money, I wouldn’t have spent $62M – I would have kept it!” 

Seeing creativity in action was needed.  Kevin Roberts, of Saachi and Saachi, kept us totally alive and intrigued with his rich and interesting videos.  (I’m going to ensure my work creates such fun and creative results going forward – inspiring.) He focused on the changing reality of marketing. We’ve moved past attraction and into making emotional connections.  How true.  The movement from being irreplaceable to irresistible. “Lovemarks include mystery, sensuality, and intimacy.” Have you looked at your brand lately?  Do you really connect with your customer base or just sell into it?

Last, but certainly not least.  The obewan we waited for – George Lucas.  Truly focused, humble and lucky.  What an incredible story from a very private man.  He made a whole lot more films than I knew about.  His message wove around key themes of trust and transparency.  Trust and transparency – the lasting themes of this conference.  Genuine George.  What a great way to wrap up the day.

We also saw David Rubenstein and Jeffrey Sachs.  See separate blog on this. Not sure exactly how to capture this experience yet.

The end – part 1


One response to “#WBF09 Day 1 – Experiencing the World Business Forum

  1. Thanks for sharing your insights from the World Business Forum, Renee! Your post from the first day shows common themes of participation, engagement and making emotional connections. Bill George did that by inviting all the bloggers to meet with him the night before the event, knowing he’d be deluged the following day. Pat Lencioni modeled engagement with his rapport and audience participation during his session. Kevin Roberts put a name on what we were seeing: the participation economy. Finally, George Lucas inspired us by showing how sharing stories through art makes a lasting, emotional connection. And you, Renee, are putting all these ideas to action right now in your blog. I see you sharing ideas, encouraging us to think with the questions you pose, and (from your other blog entries) actively engaging with your commenters to take all these ideas further. I see now why you’re known as Chief Catalyst!

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