Leaving on a Jet Plane

My trip is still over a month away but I’ve booked my plane ticket to Ohio. I’ve known I’ll be going out to the USA to join in and speak at Ohio SHRM for a while now – and there’s something very definite and exciting about knowing you’ve got a seat on the plane. I’m looking forward to meeting Steve Browne, Dwane Lay, Jason Lauritsen and a whole bunch of other people too. I’ll have a camera with me and I hope to get some great pics and some video of my trip.

I’m a little nervous and very excited to be speaking at the conference. I’ll be telling a few stories about the importance and benefits of conversation, about how to use transparency to make a difference, not just for the sake if it, and about how vulnerability makes us better people. I plan to fit TeamGB cycling, Rush, The Clash, my family and a bunch of other stuff too. There’s even a rumour that the good people of Ohio are planning to lend me a guitar – well it is the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame State after all eh 😉

If you’re going to Ohio in September then I look forward to seeing you there. And if you’re not, what could I do for you to try and share my experiences in the moment?

photo credit

I Have A Dream

Towards the end of last year my Dad asked me what he thought I might try and do with the business in 2012. I told him ‘I want to work in America’. ‘How you gonna make that happen son?’ he asked. ‘I dunno yet’ I replied, ‘I just will’.

I turned on my radar and courtesy of Mike VanderVort I spotted an opportunity to submit a pitch to speak at the Florida State HR Conference. I also recalled a brief Facebook exchange with William Tincup about guitars and America, and I had a quick exchange with Steve Browne about maybe doing something down Ohio way. Then Dad died and things went a bit off track for a while. In due course I made my pitch to Florida, thought a little more about what William had said and kept in touch with Steve.

Florida didn’t happen this time. I’ve no idea why – I asked for feedback and got a rather bland ‘Dear John’ type reply. I’ll maybe have another try next year. Ohio is gonna happen and as you all know I’m really excited about that. And other US plans are forming as I write (watch this space).

So what?

Well I could have burned a pile of money and time coming up with a strategic plan on how to do cool stuff in America, and I’m glad I didn’t. I can’t predict the future so at the time of planning I couldn’t have known Dad was going to die, I couldn’t have known that a timely exchange between Steve and I would have developed further. I couldn’t have known a whole bunch of stuff. But if I had invested in a plan, I’d have felt the need to stick with it and justify the time and money invested. Strategic planning drives convergent, fixed thinking. Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant write beautifully about this in their book Humanize which I recommend if you want to go deeper into the pointlessness of strategic planning (and many other interesting things too).

Me? I just had a goal, an ambition. My response to Dad was honest, I had no idea how I would achieve the goal, I just knew it was achievable and if I wanted it bad enough it would happen.

Set Goals. Have Ambitions. Do Stuff. Be Agile.

Follow your dreams. Life is too short for strategic planning.

With thanks to Sukh Pabial, David Goddin and Jonathan Wilson for a provocative conversation on Twitter that got me to writing this.

Ohio On My Mind

Towards the end of last year I was chatting with Dad about life, the universe, and everything. He asked if I had plans for the forthcoming year, and I told him I would do some work in the USA. Following the direction of my 2012 pledge, I said I didn’t know where, what or how, I just knew I would.  Dad replied, ‘Go ahead and make me proud’.

Yesterday I signed the contract which confirms I’ll be speaking, blogging, tweeting, meeting and learning at the 2012 Ohio State HR Conference. I’m humbled and excited to be given this opportunity, and even though for well documented reasons I can’t pass the news to Dad in person, I reckon he would be feeling the same.

So to the good people of Ohio I say this. I salute the flag of the state of Ohio and pledge to the Buckeye State respect and loyalty. And to Steve Browne I say, I’m totally geeked dude!

More news on my USA expansion plans to follow. Meanwhile – what are you doing differently in 2012? I’d love to hear from you.

photo c/o DBduo