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Conference Reflections and Follow-ups

If I didn't just look at the date on a post I wanted to reference here, I would have told you I wrote it in 2019. Turns out, I wrote it in 2017. The post was called, "Conferences As Habit-Forming Endeavors" and came on the heels of a conference trip where I used the time to reset and attempt to create a new routine. I can't say I am always successful at using these context switches to update my behavior, but I can say I make an effort, which is half the battle right now.

I recently went to my first in-person conference in "a pandemic of time," somewhere in the range of three years. The first day back, I was exhausted and that exhaustion carried through the week as well, but there are a few things that have been on my mind that have led to that exhaustion because I know I have some work to do:

  1. I need to review all current and upcoming projects to make sure that I have checked all my lenses (Strategic, Political, and Cultural) and verify the list of stakeholders to ensure that there aren't missing parties.
  2. I need to review my approach to my calendar and make sure that I am appropriately setting aside time for focused long-term goal setting and strategic thinking.
  3. I need to internalize scenario planning as an approach to all my work in order to set priorities and each priority's timeline.

That third one has me thinking a lot. We are all probably aware of the idea of checking our expectations around best and worst case scenarios (e.g. "what's the worst that can happen?") in any given change, but I was challenged last week to think through other scenario planning methodologies that are less well taught. One of them is the juxtaposed planning exercise of incremental change versus catastrophic change.

A multi-day conference definitely feels like a catastrophic change after years without one and between my home and work lives, there are plenty of things my most recent adventure to the mystical, far off place of Bloomington, Indiana has made me rethink. The fact is that the pandemic was a catastrophic change that none of us could have fully predicted, so perhaps it will require a catastrophic change for us to fully exit it.