This was my sixth ASAE annual meeting and I have taken much longer than normal to reflect on my takeaways from #ASAE13 than usual. It was a different experience this year and so it has taken longer for me to collect my thoughts on what resonated with me most.
The overarching theme was me making a conscious effort to contribute not just participate. I have been blessed to participate in annual meeting for so long now. What I have learned has directly contributed to my personal success in my role with @fitnessorgau and contributed to Fitness Australia’s success since 2008. Time to put something back.
So here is my top takeaways from 2013:
- App Tip: Uber was a godsend in Atlanta. Only Sydney has dodgier cabbies than ATL and so hat tip to @sgiarde for putting me on to Uber for the multiple trips I made around the city and to and from the airport. The sooner it is available down under the better.
- Contribute: This year my schedule was dominated by invitations to meet and contribute rather than simply pick a session and participate. ASAE’s Megan Denhardt invited me to workshop content and format for Great Ideas 2014 and being in a room with such rockstars as Sheri Jacobs, Jeff Hurt, John Chen & Tom Morrisson was awesome. I received an invitation to meet with a Korean delegation who work on behalf of ASAE and MCI in Korea. They are working closely with the newly formed Korean Fitness Industry Association and were looking to connect which we did and it was very productive. Then there was my session with @jamienotter which went really well.
- First-timer Mentoring: What a great way to make new friends. I volunteered to offer my time to a first time attendee. Connecting with Brent McConnell before the meeting made it super easy to catch up when we arrived in ATL. It also helped that he works for Higher Logic and I have friendships with some of his colleagues going back six years. Hat tip Lauren Wolfe and Conor McNulty. Contributing this way is very rewarding and I know that in Brent I have a new mate, an NCAA football rival and professional colleague equally passionate about enhancing the work of Associations.
- No #Poolcon is a bummer: In Dallas the pool in the main hotel was rockin’ every day with cool Association peeps (even John Graham one day) and the networking going on was incredible. Discussions were lively while waist deep in cool water and cool beverages. Not having a decent pool in closely located hotels in ATL was a bummer. Hat tip to @KikiLItalien for the #poolcon ribbons though which reminded us how important pool time in August in a southern US city really is.
- People & Culture not process and procedure: Exciting that there is more and more conversations about the value of investment in people and culture to achieve optimal organisational performance. In fact the more I think about the value of ASAE’s annual meeting the more it is clear that it is high value because of the investment ASAE makes in creating a good vibe through some very high quality people who, when combined with the likes of the YAPstar crew and others, creates for me the most compelling PD opportunity in the world for an association executive.
- Goal setting works: I wanted to rock my presentation and I wanted to break 23mins for the 5k. The first I did only with the help of leading organisational consultant Jamie Notter (@jamienotter) and the second I did (albeit very painfully) with the help of Chief Peach, Dave Will (@peachdave). Dave is renowned for his running prowess. He kindly offered to relinquish his crown in favour of helping me achieve my goal. He is a rockstar.
- Not as extroverted as many think: Yes, I am overly communicative most of the time. Yes, I am very animated when I speak about something I am interested in. However, I need my own personal space and time to survive. I enjoy being on my own and spending time in my own head. I look forward to speak only when spoken to moments in life. Some “tools down” time is now an intentional part of my working week to ensure I am ready and available for all the things that I choose to do with my time. So there is plenty of introvert in me I think – believe it or not.
- Celebrate progress: I was fortunate enough to spend time in the offices of Peach New Media on this visit. Apart from being some of the coolest peaches in town, their culture reminded me how important it is to celebrate progress as well as outcomes. I witnessed them intentionally celebrate their whole-of-company achievements with a new client, and share this celebration with the client also, and I saw first hand the impact it had on the people that work so hard to create organisational success. Celebrate outcomes – sure. Commend effort – sure. Don’t forget how important progress is when measuring and reporting your team’s contributions to organisational performance. Peach does this splendidly.
- Part of the furniture: When I talked with colleagues and friends at ASAE that I have known for years and they didn’t realise I actually still lived in Australia it made me laugh. “But we see you as often as we see people who live in our city!”.
- Leave pass approved: I thank my wife Nicole and kids, Lockyer and Keeley, for letting me be away for two weeks in a busy time of year at home. I thank Fitness Australia CEO, Lauretta Stace, for giving me the latitude to explore things that I believe are meaningful to our organisation’s success. And, I thank the ASAE community, and Fogdirockstars specifically, for embracing me and giving me the chance to experience something really wonderful in the association management profession.
Anyone know the way to Nashville?