I don’t really like going to conferences. I’m always sorely tempted to skip sessions and just stay in my room and read a book…but I’m guilt-driven, so I generally make most of the sessions.
Right now, I’m at a conference at the beach. It’s an annual thing and it’s at a really great hotel/resort on the Oregon coast, but their internet connection bites. Had nothing for over 24 hours, but I just got on a little while ago in my room and the DT’s are slowly subsiding. Conferences at the beach pose another potential distraction for me…I’d rather be out surfing. This conference is right across the street from one of the finer surf spots on the Oregon coastline, so it’s particularly tempting. I haven’t ditched a session to go surfing yet, though. I’m done tomorrow at noon and I’ll probably hit the water before driving home.
There’ve been some good speakers and I’ve got some great ideas to take home with me. One big "aha" came when the keynote speaker at breakfast this morning noted that in communication, and in culture in general, those with less power pay the price. I know this is a no-brainer, but it just struck me for some reason.
Another great bit was a tip about analyzing all the jobs that are done in an office. The presenter called it "needs based management" and it’s kind of a riff on Ken Blanchard’s stuff. The deal is, get a spreadsheet and you list all your people down the left side and you list all your tasks across the top. Then you put a checkmark wherever a particular person’s responsibilities intersects with a particular task. Once you’ve got all your checkmarks, then you go back and rate each checkmark. So if John places the Office Depot order, then you rate John’s knowledge of placing Office Depot orders on a scale of 1-4. You do this for every checkmark. When you’re done, you have a map of all the training you need to do AND you have a pretty good idea of who might be qualified to do that training. Also, you can identify "single points of failure" whenever you see only one checkmark down a task column. That means only one person in your office knows that task and you need to do some quick cross-training…
Okay, the internet DT’s are gone and I’m tired. One more thing though. If you care or are interested in the Oregon countryside/coastline, I’ve slapped up a Flickr set of my drive yesterday. It’s here (warning…there are some nasty clearcut pics that’ll either make you cry or make you mad. Or both.).