We’re reaching the end of the main political party conference season, and whilst conferences may lack the cut and thrust of yesteryear, they are still really interesting to observers of organisations in action.
Purists bemoan the lack of free speech and the careful co-ordination of messages, lessons politicians took from the corporate world, yet if your organisation were to run its own party conference how would it go? Let’s take a look at a couple of components.
The keynote speech – always fun to watch, not so much for the content, but for the body language and reactions of the rest of the top team. How would your top team react? Would they be on board with the content? Would they feel that the leader was fairly representing all views? Would they take joint responsibility for the success (or failure) of the speech? Or would they shuffle uncomfortably, thinking the leader was unworthy of their respect and attention? Would they pull faces and snigger, hoping for failure? A strong top team who work together for success and can disagree passionately in private whilst retaining respect for each others contributions makes a big difference to success.
The fringe – if your next organisation wide conference allowed fringe events what would they be like? Would there be events calling for new leadership because of lack of faith in the existing leader? Would there be bitter arguments about the future direction of the organisation with no-one taking responsibility for outlining a coherent vision? Or would there be small teams championing exciting ideas ready to lead projects in the future? Fringe events give a real idea about how engaged the ‘workforce’ is, and how much ownership they’re taking for the success of the organisation, both in the past and for the future.