• The Unconference Lives

    This post is targeted to all of the folks in the HR Echo Chamber.  (The line is we talk to ourselves and no one else really listens).  Last week I personally had a minor epiphany. It had to do with the unconference.  While this  group of Human Resource internet aficionados, here in the chamber,  did not invent or does not own the unconference, we certainly do advocate for its use and adoption, especially guys like Bill Boorman.

    Within the span of less than a week, I ran into the unconference on two different planes.  As a registered/certified USA Hockey Referee I must annually attend a clinic (this is suppose to facilitate my competency as an official).  For as long as I can remember, how they disseminate information is in the classic lecture style – with power point.

    Opening remarks at HREvolution 2012

    This year (drum roll please) the instructor said I am going to do something different.  He said I have a list of some things I would like to discuss, but I want your involvement and input. He said, further, I would like to talk about any concerns or issues that you guys might want to bring up. Holy Cow – sounds like an unconference to me.   So that’s what we did, he was a great facilitator which lead to a lot of information being shared. Kudos to USA Hockey.

    Six days later, my son who was in Chicago attended an event at Columbia College. It was called The Creative Unconference.  At this event people just talked there were no presentation or power point. That sound like an event where you might find his dad and his HR buddies. Wow!

    So in the span of less than a week, I was touched twice by the unconfernce.  Wow maybe we are helping to move the ball forward!  Viva la HREvolution – Vival la TruConferences.

     
  • SHRM, HRevolution, ERE, HRTech…Why do you go?

    Three time attendees recognized at HRevolutioin

    In this post I will be making reference and linking over to my project social partner Laura Schroeder; like we have both done a number of times.  But with today’s post Laura and I are going to add new friend and blogger to our little project social project link-fest.  For those of you who don’t know her, please say hello to  Lyn Hoyt (from twitter @designtwit) and her blog site http://hrbaconhut.com/content/.  Lyn will be linking back and forth with Laura and I now and then. So onto today’s post…

    Having recently returned from HRevolution this subject is top of mind for me.  Over the past few years I have had to opportunity and good fortune to attend a number of conferences.   Many of these my employer has paid for, and for that I am most thankful.  I have attended some other SHRM events, and while I did not have to pay to attend, on some occasions, I have committed to working and I have paid to get myself there or for meals or other incidentals.  And in the last case such as HRevolution, I paid my own (airfare, lodging, conference fee and incidentals) way to be there.

    At the various events I have attended I often encounter a number of people who seem to be in attendance at virtually every event. I look at this and I am left with more questions than answers.  I question this not to be mean or rude – simply just out of curiosity.  I understand that some of the folks who morph between attendee and participant are there to promote themselves, besides being an attendee; and I get that.

    While there are other folks who are in attendance and never present, but seem to know and hang with all of the ”A” players.

    And then there’s my group those of us that show occasionally at some of the events and know many of the folks.

    Now that I have identified the groups, I am still curious to understand what it is that drives each of these groups. I have my own reasons for attending different events. I attend for theses reasons:

    • To obtain recertification credits for my SHRM designation
    • To learn current thinking current legislative matters
    • To seek out creative solution to complex problems that I face
    • To understand better an organizations goals and objectives
    • To visit with old friends and make new ones
    • To travel to fun, exotic or just warm locations
    • To get away from the day to day grind and clear my head
    • To participate as a panelist or speak at the event

    That is my list – for now.  Why else do you spend time on the conference circuit or simply what drive you to attend an event?  I would love to hear from anyone who attends! For a couple  more looks at the conference circuit check out Laura here – and Lyn here.

     
  • HRevolution 2011 in the Books

    @Controllergirl a.k.a. Teresa Morris providing some visual HR commentary

    Well HRevolution v3.0 is over,  let the posts begin.  I spent about $800 to attend, and probably would have spent a little more had it not be for the generosity of Mr. W.  I would do it again in heartbeat because I so enjoy this group of people and their collective view on things (and having a few cocktails with them as well.)   Why did I go and why will I return to the next one, I guess is really at the core of this whole deal.

    While this was only my second version of HRevolution, I have come to know many of the participants on line and in real life. The collective attendees are simply great people, so much that they renew my faith in people.  We have men, women, pretty much all races, many religions, old, young, small, tall, big and not so big folks, but we are all one – and then we hug each other too!.  It’s kind of corny but it is also very cool.  I am kind of a portly old married guy and people still want to hug me and I want to hug them back. (Jesus we couldn’t do this at work could we?)

    Ben Eubanks ask me whether this was better than Chicago.  I told him yes, and of course he asked me why. This event was better, in my opinion because of the conference space – AND the people in it.  First I will speak to the space issue.  While I enjoyed the Catalyst Ranch and how it was going to inspire people with its open and eclectic space, but when it is all said and done, the traditional room/classroom or meeting style really works be3tter – for me.  The other thing that was better was the people and the session leaders.  The “unconference model” (if you don’t know this, you might google it) allows the attendees to actively participate.  This creates energy, vibe, buzz – call it what you will, but in the room and it is palpable.  The buzz and the interaction, this year was very good.

    I only attended about 1/3 of the sessions, although the ones I did were informative, energetic and enlightening.  For the $125 to get in the door it was money well spent. What I have found is this, I am coming to like most of my twitter friends and relish the time I get to hang out with them (in real life) and catch up with them. I must ask myself – is this a sickness or a redeeming quality?  And if I didn’t tweet you and tell you how fun it was to meet and hang with you this is my apology here.

    While at the event I met someone who told me they enjoy reading most of this (what I refer to as drivel) stuff that I crank out her and over at www.ilshrmblog.org, thanks Lyn! .  If I keep doing it long enough I may get that number to 3 or 4.  I took a more than 100 pictures at the event and they are posted on Picasa.

    There are more pictures courtesy of Monster and they are here.  I will have a couple more posts on this later this week.

     
  • On Site At HREvolution 2011

    My flight arrived in Atlanta on time.  MARTA was simple, cheap, easy and safe.  I walked in the door at the hotel to be greeted by Ben Eubanks, Trish Mc Farmland, Robin Schooling and Crystal Peterson.  Even though I arrived early at the hotel my 21st floor room (same floor as the Presidential Suite – thanks Trish) was ready early – got checked in and the madness has begun.

    We attended a lunch sponsored by People Matter  and heard about their software.  It was a good lunch and good overview of their product.  They are sponsoring the tweet up tonight, so we’ll get real cozy with these folks.  The rooms are great with flat screens.  The only down side is it is a Marriott (expensive rooms), and with expensive rooms comes Un-Free internet – $14.95 a day to be exact.  I don’t get that at the $89 a night hotels it is free – huh?

    So I am getting all charged up for the tweet up. No literally, my phone, my camera, my video camera, my external power supply for my phone – and next me – maybe a short nap.

    It is GREAT to see all of the HRevolution peeps.  Many I know, some I don’t but I am making friend with them all.  Question to me…Hmm are all of these people thought leaders?

    Ok so for now that it – more later!  Some pics here 

     
  • Why I am Attending HREvolution

    Eric Winegardner speaking at HREvolution 2010

    Bill Kutik speaking at the Catalyst Ranch – HREvolution 2010

     HREvolution is coming up next month, and I am really looking forward to attending. I am going to get to visit with some old friends, meet some folks face to face that I have met online, make some new friends, attend some mind-bending sessions which will help me grow and learn, and to get out of town and spend a weekend in Atlanta.  

    Last year leading up to HREvolution2010, I was a relative newcomer to twitter.  I was trying to figure out what all the chatter was about.  The one thing that everyone was buzzing about was this HREvolutioin conference.  I really wasn’t sure what in the heck the conference was all about and who all of these people were.  I had met a few of them and but most of them were unknown to me. The conference was in Chicago (200 miles from me) and cost $100. I figured what the heck, I should attend.  I thought even if I went and it was a bust I would only be out a few hundred bucks.  

    I made the decision to go, and then I heard from my old buddy John Jorgensen.  He assured me I would enjoy the conference and learn a lot.  This was one of the best decisions I made last year.  I did attend, met a lot of great people and had a great time.  

    Since attending the conference at the Catalyst Ranch last year, I have really dove head long into the social media scene – and am thankful that I have had the opportunity to do so.  I don’t know that all of these things happened as a direct result of attending, perhaps, but even if they were not a direct result they were a by-product of attending HREvolution.  

    Since May of 2010 these are some of the things I have been done… 

    • I was asked to become the Social Media Director for the Illinois State Council of SHRM
    • I was invited to write a guest post on Blogging for Jobs about the SHRM Blog Squad
    • Launched a blog site for the Illinois State Council of SHRM www.ilshrmblog.org
    • Attend SHRM Annual Conference in San Diego
    • Meet a number of the notable HR Bloggers in San Diego
    • Worked with IL State Council, John Jorgensen, Curtis Midkiff, Mike VanDervort and Trish McFarlane making the IL SHRM State conference a social media event
    • Started my own blog (here)
    • Was a guest on Drive Thru HR (twice)
    • Attend the SHRM Leadership Conference participating as a Social Media Panelist
    • Hung out with Ben Eubanks at that conference learning that boomers and GenY can in fact get along
    • Met the HR Florida gang at SHRM Leadership (Social media royalty)
    • Met many great HR folks on twitter and look forward to getting to know them better (Steve Browne, Kimberly Roden, Jay Kuhn…just to name a few)
    • Planning for a really exciting IL SHRM conference in 2011 which is going to be huge and I get to be a part of it
    • Planning to attend OHSHRM and WISHRM and bring back ideas for ILSHRM
    • Became a fan of HRHappyhour 

    So a big thanks to Ben, Steve, Trish and Crystal for putting together and pulling off this HREvolution thing. It has treated me well and provided me with a lot of opportunities.  I will be in attendance and happy to be there. I hope to see you there.

     
  • Sitting on the Fence about HREvolution?

    I enjoy traveling, going new places, or revisiting old favorite haunts.  Probably the most exciting thing to me about traveling is the anticipation.  The thoughts of what the trip will be, the memories, the new people the new experiences.  Well here in the last couple of days an upcoming trip of mine has now come up on my radar.  It is my upcoming trip to Atlanta on April 29th, when I will be traveling there to attend the HREvolution.

    Version 2.0 o f HREvolution was close to me, about 200 miles and took place in Chicago.  At that time I did not know so many of the folks who make up the HR space on twitter and in the blogosphere.  The conference fee was $100 –very affordable.  So I figured what the heck this could be exciting, fun, and informative and just a chance to meet some new people.

    At the event I met many of the celebrities (although they don’t see themselves as such) and they were all really nice, friendly and interesting folks.  I met the organizers.  The day of the conference great stuff was put forth.  Lots of food for thought, contacts and resources were presented.  It was a great experience.

    In short deciding to attend the conference was one of the best decisions I made last year.  Since that time I have met up with many of the same folks at other events.  We tweet back and forth; I read their blogs knowing who these people really are.  Just the other day, I read post from my friend Steve Browne, and in this post Steve talks about meeting all of his social media frend in real life.

    So if you are sitting on the fence and trying to decide if you should buy a ticket and attend HRevolution 2011, you should.  If you think it is up your alley, it will be.  See you there!