I’m was  listening to Simon T Bailey, the opening key-note at Ohio SHRM.He was talking about a lot of things I’ve heard and sen before from other motivational speakers, but he has a warm style and delivers the message well. Simon is talking about creativity, innovation and doing things in a different way to the norm. Shaking things up a little.
The term Vuja De is literally the opposite of Deja Vue, doing the opposite of what you have seen and done before. Taking a position of “what is the opposite of what we have always done.” It is a philosophy that means a lot to me. We built #tru around looking at the conference model and doing the opposite. Tomorrow, I’m going to be doing the same thing in my presentation. It really is about being brave enough to break the mould, and more importantly being allowed to.
Something Simon said resonated with me. “If you make a mistake it doesn’t mean you are a mistake.” I’m thinking about the last place I worked in a real job,and how the culture was built on ensuring any mistakes were down to someone else. A real blame culture.
Looking back, we stifled innovation and change because we feared the consequences, and lived by “this is the way we’ve always done it. This is the way we will always do it.” I think  if we spent more time and energy avoiding blame and avoiding risk, we could have achieved much more. Sometimes doing the same thing repeatedly works and brings success. The question though is how much more could be achieved by concentrating on making things better. Google and other giant corporations have been successful because they encourage risk and accept failure.  it’s part of the culture and  trying is rewarded. I hope we can see more of this coming in to business thinking.

Simon’s presentation was a great way to start the day and get people thinking about change. I followed this up with a session entitled “Happy Crap” by Erika Oliver , which was probably the best presentation I’ve seen of this type. Again, if you do a lot of conferences, there is little “wow” content, but the right presenter makes you see for yourself that you are just not doing the things you know you should be. We know the impact of being positive. We know that we should look at the positives in situations but we always get drawn to the negatives, especially with feedback. Erika demonstrated this with visually with her story of a mammoth quest to find the perfect pair of panties because somebody gave her feedback that her panty line was showing. (Ignoring the other 34 positive comments.). The solution to the problem was of course to buy bigger trousers, but her focus was on the negative feedback rather than the positive solution.

I think these two points fit well together on a corporate and individual basis. We need to learn from feedback, but also make sure that we view it in context. Erika’s simple story highlighted this point, and I’m going to look up her book for more of the same content. organisations need to ensure feedback is balances, and delivered in person, rather than by written forms which are always open to interpretation and lacks context. Real feedback on a regular basis, and not just when things go wrong, keeps people motivated and has a big impact on retention.

Looking forward to the next sessions,