Genuine Space to Think Big

This past couple of months has been pretty standard of any new year – I, like many others, get all excited and motivated at the seemingly limitless prospects of a new year – the projects, the cultural change, the lofty goal of happier, more productive people.

No matter the quality of planning somehow we always have the same problem, there just aren’t enough hours in the day, week, month, year, to accomplish all that we want to.

It’s easy at this stage to step back and disengage, or step forward and attempt to drown myself in endless tasks – neither of which will ever help me achieve my goals.

Ensuring I have the time and space to do the slow thinking necessary to really make a difference – to me, my organisation, my colleagues and my stakeholders – is exactly the thing that facilitates success. But it can be the hardest thing to accomplish and unfortunately is the easiest time to ‘borrow’ from when things get hectic.

It’s for this reason that I’m so looking forward to the 2015 AHRI National Conference. Not only do I get to hear some incredible speakers (The Honourable Julia Gillard anybody?…) but I get to meet hundreds of people facing similar issues to me, find out how they’re dealing with them, learn from them – not to mention the incredible group of speakers who are guaranteed to get me thinking differently.

I’m always signing up for formal learning (uni papers are verging on an addiction) and breakfast seminars (a combo of free food, networking and learning something new?! I’m there!), I love learning socially through blogging, twitter and trying out new technology. But I’ve never found anything that replaces the incredible lineups, networking opportunities and genuine space to think big than conferences on the scale of the AHRI National Convention.

Being in the same room as the thought leaders whose theories and passion are constantly used as inspiration, their lessons learned being discussed, hearing their unique point of view and maybe having the opportunity to talk to them? Nothing beats that and it can’t be replicated through technology or via a book no matter the expertise of those telling the story.

Being exposed to, and having the opportunity to learn about issues, trends and new information in my field that I’m not across is invaluable. I don’t know what I don’t know and one of the benefits of being in an industry which recognises the importance and necessity of ongoing professional development is not lost on me. While I try to keep up with general industry changes, case studies and new research, I rarely venture past my bread and butter – generalist business partnering, learning & development and organisational development – and with these areas being so broad I know I’m constantly missing information. I’m looking forward to hearing from experts in other specialties, not just for curiosities sake, but to help me deliver better solutions to my stakeholders.

What I’m excited about most of all? Dedicating time to having more big picture conversations with people who I don’t yet know. Sometimes it’s easy to get bogged down in the issues that dominate your working week – and taking time to learn from others who are accomplishing incredible things is a pretty great way to help you do the same.

The author will be a guest of the AHRI National Convention and has been asked to write up their thoughts on the event.

This article was originally published on the Australian Institute of Human Resources (AHRI) website.

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