Monday, first day back at work after #AIDS2016, the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, a week ago. A familiar experience, arriving back at the office, full or renewed energy, heartfelt determination and notebooks full of insights and new ideas. Teams and stakeholders await – teams awaiting feedback, board preparation, pending strategic decisions, funding deadlines, ongoing change management, the daily business of a vibrant NGO.
How to sift through hundreds of sessions, discern the priorities, align strategic shifts, integrate small shifts for great impact and very importantly impart and accurately and enthusiastically communicate the essence and energy, so that all team members synchronise and join forces to navigate ahead. It is a window of opportunity to ensure business as usual does not overwhelm.
I reflect on years gone by, which conference had the best return on investment? Durban, Toronto, Mexico, Vienna …. and what made the difference? Sometimes my briefing was so comprehensive that my great intentions inspired great passion, yet failed to convert to action and impact. By contrast I also recall the treadmill engulfing me, relegating the opportunity into a reporting task, with little accountable outcome. Mostly, it fell somewhere in-between, useful, but not quite optimal. So how can you ensure #AIDS 2016 doesn’t become a working holiday or a battery of reports?
Of the many strategies I employed, one that stands out the most was engaging a dedicated thinking partner, conscience, accountability partner to do this work. A Coach provides such a reflective space, to assimilate, test your thinking, notice misalignment and offer it back until it shapes into a well-crafted plan and outcome?