Releasing the Power of Collaboration
16 September 2019
Posted by: Pam Ashby
Think for a moment of the last conference you attended. Why did you invest that time, and did you fulfil your purpose?
We go to conferences for many valid reasons: to be part of a community; to learn; to test our own thinking; to network with like-minded people; to gather new ideas – the list is almost endless.
Over the past decade, conferences across all industries and subjects have become much more interactive. It’s rare now for delegates to sit ‘theatre-style’ and just listen. For those of us who are happy to use the word agile very broadly, I would say that conferences have become a much more agile experience. They are designed with the understanding that people learn more and have an altogether richer experience when they participate, contribute, and collaborate around the new thinking being suggested to them.
Exploring the Case for Business Agility
It’s a matter of days before the annual Agile Business Conference. Themed ‘The Case for Business Agility’, this two-day event is drawing people from across the world to explore the concept of Business Agility.
The programme combines keynote talks with thought leadership, executive, and practitioner case studies. A variety of content is there to deliver an all-round perspective of the topic. Yet delivering content alone doesn’t prompt understanding or fulfil the purpose of those attending.
As Facilitator Coordinator for this conference, I’m pleased to say we have a talented team of no less than twenty facilitators who will be dedicated to supporting delegates to get the most out of the case study sessions.
The programme includes 9 case studies, and if you’re at the conference, you’ll get the chance to join a facilitated table to deep dive into what you’ve heard after each 3. Professor Gregory Bateson said you have to look at something from at least 3 different perspectives to truly understand it. Sit each of us in front of one talk or case study, and we’ll come out with limited insights that are informed by our own particular viewpoint. Start sharing those perspectives and we exponentially increase our potential to learn and grow.
Sharing, collaborating and favouring transparency are foundations for agility and innovation.
Varying Perspectives feed Understanding
One of the great things about this conference is that there are no tracks. Everyone has the same experience – so no matter who you bump into during the coffee breaks you’ll have something in common to discuss. There are opportunities to ask questions of the speakers when everyone is together in the Q&A sessions, but as agilists we know the value of smaller groups.
The facilitators all have deep knowledge about Business Agility, but they are unlikely to share that explicitly. They are there to give you, the delegates, a chance to articulate the new ideas you’re processing and see how they sound in a safe setting. The deep dives will be run with Chatham House Rules, so you can share freely.
Talking about selling, Jeff Lipsius stresses that success is not about sales people having a good selling experience, it’s about the buyer having a good buying experience. This applies to all forms of communication. It’s not about what the speaker says, but what the listener understands, it’s not about what the facilitator knows, but what the delegate learns.
Pam Ashby is a Communications Strategist, Agile Marketer and Certified Coach, she is also the Facilitator Coordinator for this year's Agile Business Conference.
The Agile Business Consortium extends its thanks to the whole team of facilitators. These are experienced and skilful people who are dedicating their time to help others get the most out of their experience at the conference. If you haven’t yet secured your ticket to be a part of this annual event, there is still time to join us… https://www.agileconference.org/tickets/