The annual Leadership Conference run by Alpha and Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) is upon us again. My social media feeds were filling up before the conference with marmite opinions being shared – love and hate – in equal measure.
Personally, it is a highlight of my year and the first day has lived up to expectations. There is a breadth of views and opinions expressed, all from a point of experience and all soaked in a love for God and His world.
HTB live out their values and approach the conference from an understanding that not all views expressed will be equally shared. However, they also know that as leaders it is possible to listen with discernment rather than judgement. This brings freedom and learning that surpasses many conferences.
I am glad to be here and grateful to learn from others. Less than half way through it has already proven to be ‘value for money’ – so pleased that once again this conference is made available to us.
One of the reasons that encouraged me to attend the HTB Leadership Conference was the attendance of Patrick Lencioni. I enjoy his writings and appreciate his communication style. In truth, I received far more all round than anticipated, the Conference was superb.
Lencioni did not let me down. On the 2nd day he spoke about team and used material from his book, the The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (J-B Lencioni Series)”
If you have read the book, you may well know his headings and the leaders role;
1) Absence of Trust – the leader needs to be vulnerable to the team
2) Fear of conflict – the leader needs to embrace difference of opinion
3) Lack of commitment – the leader needs to bring clarity and decision
4) Avoidance of accountability – peer accountability to be encouraged and difficulties confronted
5) Inattention to results – focus on what you are trying to achieve
His talk was excellent, inspiring and full of content. There were plenty of nuggets to steal away and if you missed it, buy the book, you will not regret it.
The HTB leadership conference (2013) has been a good one. At some point, I may get around to writing some notes but there was one thing that has struck me. The willingness to give things away.
The event is staged well, the standards are high, yet the willingness to ‘give it up’ and ‘hand it out’ has been wonderful. Live stream, free to any who have Internet connection, use of buildings…even when they could be closed to prepare the next event, the helpfulness of the stewards, the time given (even in tiredness) of team members.
These folk know how to give ‘free gifts’ and they are for anyone…a lesson for us all.
Conferences are interesting beasts – Christian conferences are even more intriguing. I am sat in a conference centre now, enjoying the 2 hour afternoon window before the next sessions begin again. Thought I would use the time to sum up the conference merry go round rules – whilst very tongue in cheek, there is an element of truth, this is a summary of many conferences and must not assume that this is my present experience.
As people arrive at the start of any conference, there are the nervous smiles of new participants, the loud confident laughs & welcomes from the ‘annual attenders’ and the usual folk trying to look confident whilst they are inwardly struggling with how to carry their bags to an unknown place with keys and literature balancing precariously from their fingertips.
Those who are involved in the organising are desperate that everyone is ‘happy beyond belief’ as this justifies their labours and the on-going trivial banter is a minefield of Alpha egos attempting to outdo other attendees.
Once pecking orders are set, the conference can begin proper. The initial welcomes include the in-house jokes from old as people observe who sits with who, the people to avoid and those that will need to be engaged with as soon as the first session ends. The AV system has its usual hiccups when the courteous chuckles are allowed full voice, the microphones will need tampering with on more than one occasion and lip service is paid to those who have travelled the furthest distance.
As the sessions end, there will always be one person (often more) who home in like an exocet missile on the speaker, in order that they can either heap bounteous praise or demonstrate why they know better. They will ensure that they milk as much time as possible so that others have to wait their place and suffer being lower down the pecking order.
Outside, in the coffee queue, the real warfare is happening. The knowledge sharers have to share their encyclopedic understandings with anyone who will listen, others share their historical gleanings with the rest and almost everyone shares their contacts (well their 6 degrees of separation contact base) so that their voice may ‘carry weight’.
And to think…..this is just the start…..gotta love conferences…..the good news is, you can still learn a great deal from them, the good, the bad and the ugly!