ATD ICE is considered the world’s largest conference for HR and L&D professionals. People come from around the world to attend powerful keynotes from world-wide celebrities and to attend just a few of the hundreds of breakout sessions over the multi-day conference. Everyone leaves a little bit smarter, much better equipped, and most importantly inspired to take action on the initiatives that matter most.
We attended just a few of the sessions and keynotes, in addition to meeting amazing people in our booth. Here are 6 things we learned at ATD.
1. “Leadership is different than management.”
OK, we knew this already, but it’s pretty impactful when you hear it from renowned author and executive Seth Godin. Godin went on to explain that management is telling people what to do. Leadership is a choice you make.
“Leaders,” Godin explained, “help people do the work we actually need.” They help people uncover what to do next. “We don’t need people to collect the dots—We need people to connect the dots.”
Our current “mindset of industry is a system that rewards compliance.” Leaders develop people into the reliable problem-solvers organizations need. But “development requires generous persistence.” It requires everyday effort.
2. “We are developing people for jobs that don’t exist yet.”
Speaking of development, Tamar Elkeles, CHRO at XCOM, shared a powerful reminder of just how quickly our work landscape is changing. 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 have not been invented yet.
The workplace is changing quickly. Many managers are promoted because they are superstar performers. They’re good at doing the work. Future managers will need the skills to train and support employees in doing a job they themselves have never done.
3. Organizations see coaching as a solution for change management.
The International Coach Federation (ICF) presented a panel discussion with Matt Becker, Shawna Corden, and Glenn St. Onge in which they explained coaching is about more than just manager skills.
Any coaching initiative needs to be focused on a key performance metric. Managers need to understand why coaching is the most important thing for the organization to work on right now. How does it impact the bottom line?
A common use case for organization-wide coaching is change management. The ICF shared the 4 most frequently-cited reasons organizations use coaching for change management.
- Addressing leadership styles, strengths, and blind spots
- Overcoming resistance
- Unveiling new processes and tools
- Building resilience and change readiness
4. “Only 50% of people will take you up on something, even if it’s free.”
Many organizations are working on building a coaching culture. They implement all the right programs, send their executives to special sessions to make sure they’re on board and invested. They add courses to their roster of option in their internal learning hub.
And nothing happens.
That’s because, according to the ICF, only 50% of people will take you up on something, even if it’s free (and we all know that a training/workshop/course is never really free. There’s always an opportunity cost). It isn’t enough to make coaching training available to your managers. You have to incentivize it with relevance, or make it mandatory.
5. “When we talk about high performers, we don’t talk about how cheap they are.”
A leader’s job is to transform their people into high performers. Seth Godin explained: “when we talk about high performers, we don’t talk about how cheap they are.” Instead, he says, we talk about the work they do.
6. Oprah embodies an InsideOut Mindset—“I’m optimistic about human potential.”
Most would agree the highlight of ATD ICE was hearing from Oprah Winfrey. She spoke of the importance of good leaders, and how good leaders connect people to the organization’s mission.
“Leadership is everything…Good leadership will make or break an organization... Anything that ever went wrong in my life was from one of two things: 1) I didn’t follow my gut, or 2) I didn’t have good leadership.”
In true coaching form, Oprah didn’t try to impart any knowledge throughout her keynote. Instead, she said: “I’m here to remind you of what you’ve always known.”
Oprah gave some crucial advice to leaders about how people want to be treated:
“People seek validation. Did I matter? Was I heard?...Giving people money doesn’t change them. You have to change how they think about themselves and how they move themselves forward.”
At InsideOut Development, we know that people move themselves forward with the decisions they make. Check out this blog to learn how the GROW Model® helps anyone make better, faster decisions.
Oprah explained the importance of good decision-making: “How do you solve every problem and get through every crisis? You remain fully present in the moment you’re in…ask yourself, ‘what is the next right decision?’”
This is just a sample of the things we learned (or were reminded of) at ATD ICE. We also discovered insights that will shape the content we create and the stories we tell. What did you learn at ATD? Tell us in the comments?