March 16, 2011

You've Changed, Others Haven't


You went to a conference.

You networked, renewing old friendships and making new connections.

You shared challenges, gained fresh perspectives.

You've returned to work brimming with energy and ideas, eager to share all the insights you have for improving everything in your organization.

Don't.  I repeat.  Do. Not. Share. Like That.

Dial down your "I'm ready to change the world" passion out of respect for those who aren't ready to have their world changed by you.

They did not just come from the mountains of Colorado, the beaches of California, or the fabulous retreat center in the hills.  They've been dutifully slogging away, probably even doing a little extra to cover for your absence.

While they undoubtedly will want to hear what you learned, too much shared too soon will make them want to smack you down or vaporize you on the spot. They cannot drink from your firehose of enthusiasm.

Share appetizers not entrees.  Do a summary report of key takeaways and what they mean for your organization and post it on your internal web site.  When talking individually with a colleague, drop in a casual "Hey I picked up some info for you at the conference that I'm happy to share whenever it works for you."

Over the next few weeks be careful to not start every contribution you make during team meetings with "Well at the conference I just attended."  Link your suggestions to existing strategies.  Connect your comments to colleagues' passions and problems.

Yes, you're fired up and ready to go, but to others you can easily seem like an out-of-control blaze who needs to be reduced to ashes.  So let your new thinking and new ideas be kindling you add to others' flames … and keep stoking the fire so it never dies out.

7 comments:

Andrew P. Gordon said...

I hadn't thought about how coming back with lots of energy could be a bad thing, but you make a great point. Sounds like it's all about keeping your ears peeled for particular opportunities to speak up about all the great new connections/knowledge you've acquired. Thanks for the tip.

Jeffrey Cufaude said...

Eyes and ears peeled is a great way to think about it Andrew. Offer your energy in ways that supports others rather than suffocating them.

Ralf Lippold said...

Jeffrey - great post. Resonated with my past experience at attending workshops.

The casual approach of sharing insights - this is a good advice! Thank you.

Kevin Whorton, Whorton Marketing & Research said...

This is a great post! I reported for my last association position just after attending ASAE Annual ... as incoming COO my charge was to review and upgrade many programs, establish new ones, and kill some old ones, quickly if possible. So I met with zillions of folks and scheduled appointments upon my return with some of the vendors I met, only to be called on the carpet by my CEO for "too much too soon." After a few years as a consultant I forgot just how incremental we are in associations (even when we're charged with quick results).

Great view on the downside of bringing too much energy back from the event!

Jeffrey Cufaude said...

Glad it resonated with you Kevin. One of my bosses trying to coach me a bit about how to manage conference high said, "You're juiced about the macro, but everyone around you is overwhelmed with the micro. Pace yourself."

Kevin Whorton, Whorton Marketing & Research said...

I THOUGHT this post looked familiar in twitter today! Now that I am the center of my own world, I come home brimming with enthusiasm. I greet myself at the door with a killer smile and tell myself, I AM going to change things, everywhere to make us a better operation. :O)

Jeffrey Cufaude said...

I just repost it each year so you have a chance to relive your past Kevin. Thanks for commenting ... again!