Inc. 5000 Conference – Happy Grasshopper

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Inc. 5000 Conference

Inc. 5000 Conference

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If you know me you’ve probably heard me gush about this conference. It is my favorite, but not just because the vendors shower us with high dollar swag (Ink by Chase is passing out iPads like I hand out T-shirts – if you’re their customer you get one.) What I really love is the content.

Every year I walk away with gems that help my business and improve my life. In years past, my favorites have been Tony Hseih, Gary Vaynerchuk and my bros from Wexley School for Girls, Ian Cohen and Cal McAllister. Tony and Gary literally inspired Happy Grasshopper into existence and Ian & Cal are the embodiment of fun.

This year I’m looking forward to another great line up, especially Simon Sinek, Caterina Fake and Guy Kawasaki. Simon is first up today and I’ll be adding content during his talk. If you don’t know Simon and you don’t know the Inc. Conference take a look here:

http://conference.inc.com/

and watch Simon’s TED talk here –

http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html

Yikes… first technical difficulty of the day.  I’ve written a whole section about the introduction from Inc. editor in chief Eric Schurenberg but it’s been lost to the ether… which is a damn shame because it was BRILLIANT!

Simon Sinek

Okay, so you should know I freaking love Simon Sinek.  He’s brilliant, he’s a storyteller and he gets my personal mission to bring people closer together.  So here are the highlights – and yes, I’m covering this from my perspective as a speaker.

Simon opened by congratulating us on our achievement and then asking us if it was something we wanted on our tombstones… nice way to kill off some of the big headed egos walking around today.  He took the energy of the room and transferred it into a riveting story about an A-10 Warthog pilot named Johnny Bravo which he used to teach us about leadership.

His point is that leaders don’t command, they serve.  If we serve well, those we lead will lift us (our businesses) to new heights.  Well done Simon.

He then transitioned into a personal story which he used to teach us about purpose and ended by connecting the first story to the second.  I’ll be thinking about his message and the artful way he drew our emotions to a high and then delivered his message.

I was able to have a brief chat with him afterwards and picked up four signed copies of his book.  3 of you will be getting a nice surprise in the mail.  🙂

Chip and Dan Heath – Authors of Made to Stick, Switch and Decisive

I read Made to Stick a few years ago but missed both Switch and Decisive, the latter of which was the basis of their talk.  After today, I’m really looking forward to reading the book – which is mine courtesy of the City of Frisco, Texas.  (see?  great swag)

The brothers Heath explain that most of us can radically improve our decision making abilities through the application of process.  (Can I just mention how freaking cool it is that I’ve been talking about Culture and Process for a year now, and Inc. leads off their conference with culture kind Simon Sinek and follows it up with the brothers of process?  Well, it’s cooooool.)

They suggest that we consider our best course of action and then imagine that it has vanished.  This forces a broadening of our thinking and allows us to be more creative.  They also suggest that we set up ‘trip wires’ to prepare ourselves for failure.  This way, when our preferred course of action doesn’t pan out, we’ve already got a contingency plan in place.

As a business owner and manager, there are times when all of us feel tempted to make decisions based on our history.  Adopting these habits will allow us to examine new options.

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