Saturday, June 18, 2011

The New Era of Business Meetings

I have been in Amsterdam this week for international management meetings and it has been a wonderful experience.  I have met so many colleagues from the UK, France, the Netherlands, Chile, Brazil, Poland, Belgium...and on and on....  I must say that 99% of them are simply wonderful, inspiring, warm, intelligent, thought-provoking, and interesting people.  Of course it cannot be perfect.  There are always those that are not in perfect alignment with you...but that is to be expected.

This year's meeting (my first) was, according to all participants, significantly different from others.  It was modeled on the famous TED conference which presents a series of keynote level speakers in 18 minute profile formats to inspire thought and ideas in the meeting participants. was not 100% successful, but it was well into the 90% range. 

What did I learn today?
  1. Our industry is becoming commodotized and we must find ways to battle that condition.
  2. Our core business - water consulting - continues to inspire me with the incredible things we accomplish for our clients and our communities.
  3. Our logo is not just our is a constant reminder that we must thoughtfully evolve or else we may regret the demise of what is instead of celebrating what we can be.
  4. "Digging deeper" is something we should always do when asked by a client or colleague to support them...have we gone the extra steps to ensure success for all?
  5. We must imagine the unimaginable - like arctic deserts from renowned artist Ap Verheggen.
  6. You must balance sacrifice with reward and make decisions for our business and ourselves with that in mind.
  7. We don't need to create a global business in a vacuum...our clients will take us there and will shape it if we allow them to.  We just have to be ready to move!
  8. How to balance (and how fragile balance can be) and how to apply concentration to a goal from renowned artist Madir Eugster.
  9. We must "pay the meter" as we grow our global business by giving back to society in sustainable ways.
  10. Open my eyes to how fast the world of technology is moving by Alexander Klopping - a 24 year old internet prodigy with unbelievable ideas and a grasp of the future possibilities of our world. You can find him on YouTube...but only in Dutch.  I assure you, in person, he translates well into English!
  11. The world can become smaller and the opportunities bigger if we use our own company programs to foster exchanges of staff between our offices and teams.
  12. When something is developed for one purpose, you must review it with an open may actually have an entirely different and better purpose - from musician Fay Lovsky who played the theremin.... really, go look that one up on Google.
  13. Organizations can take shape from our own viewpoint...and we need not heavily engineer it...if we will only let it evolve naturally.
  14. Entering new markets can be fraught with peril....or rich with reward...enter smartly.
  15. Teams are the key to quality, innovation, and efficiency - use them.
Can you ask much more of a the first day of a one day meeting?  You can...stay tuned for more.

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