I was offered my first press pass to the Boise Technology Show this week! The principles at work allowed me to take the day off work to attend the show, while still getting paid for “business development,” so I could represent my firm at the Technology Show. The show was hosted by Idaho-company, Fisher’s Technology, and attracted big technology-greats like Canon and Verizon to set up shop as Boise’s most technologically advanced companies. The show was held in the Boise Centre, and this was my first time entering this brand-new building in downtown Boise. The designers did a fabulous job with this structure, as it aids in launching Boise toward true cityhood with its grandiose big-city aesthetic.
The event supplied all attendees with boxed lunch options crafted by Boise Bistro Market. We mingled and ate our lunches while perched on the mirrored-glass balcony overlooking the Grove Plaza below. University of Idaho’s President Staben kicked off the official event with a speech regarding the importance of education and technology. Though I consider myself a proud Vandal, the president made some awkward jabs at BSU. I get the “rivalry” in terms of the students, but as a leader I’d hoped he’d be above it. It was something along the lines of… “University of Idaho graduates the most successful alumni in the working world, and BSU… well… they’ve got a great football team!” I know I’m supposed to be proud of my alma mater, but these comments were rather cringe-worthy, in my opinion. I learned that Idaho is one of the leading states when it comes to entrepreneurial ventures, but is ranked one of the lowest when it comes to college attendance.
From here, we broke off into a series of lectures. There were three timeslots for lectures throughout the day, and five presenters to choose from within each timeslot. I followed my interest/instinct and starred each speaker that I wanted to catch throughout the day. I’m really happy with each of the lectures I attended, and would love to share some incites from each presentation below:
1:00-2:00PM Personal Brand in a Digital Age – Jess Flynn (CEO of Red Sky)
This lecture was about honing in on the “authentic self.” Personal brand is an amalgam of many things—you grow your brand as you have different experiences. When it comes to branding yourself (because we all represent a brand in some form or another these days), ASK YOURSELF THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:
- WHO ARE you in ONE word? (Don’t think about it too deeply, this should be your instinctual answer). In one phrase? In one sentence?
- What do you stand for? What are your core VALUES?
- What makes you stand out? What makes you DIFFERENT from the others?
- WHY are you doing what you’re doing?
- What are you doing for the world/what value are you leaving behind?
- What do people seek from you? What is compelling about you?
- How do you represent yourself online and offline? (Be true to YOURSELF and be REAL, or else everyone will know you’re a phony).
- How do you share your voice and vision? Make sure you represent yourself in the same manner all across the board in terms of social-media, online presence, and personal face-to-face encounters (Always be careful what SELF you are sharing).
To bring forward “Authentic Self” YOU MUST BE SELF AWARE.
- Know your strengths
- Know your weaknesses
- What would you “go to battle” for?
- What can you talk endlessly about?
- What is your SUPERPOWER?
2:30-3:30PM The Innovator’s Advantage: The Hidden Connection Between People and Process – Dr. Evans Baiya (Co-Author)
Change, innovation and growth is hard – you are 93% likely to be unsuccessful at whatever you try. BUT YOU HAVE 100% CHANCE OF FAILURE IF YOU DON’T TRY! There are 3-levers of innovation: Purpose, Path and People (all have an equal pull on the success of an idea/company).
Dr. Evans then covered the 6-stages of innovation, which reminded me of the scientific method we learned in 7th-grade Science class. Each of the 6-stages can be broken down further by describing, setting clear outcomes, defining activities and processes, and acquiring tools to assist in these processes.
- Identify (great innovation starts with a deep understanding of the problem)
- Define the problem and root causes.
- Develop ideas to assist in problem solving.
- Verify by testing your solutions on a small test group.
- Deploy the verified problem solves.
- Scale the results to the larger population.
You can take the FREE tests @ http://theinnovatorsadvantage.com to determine your strengths and leadership style. The tests take about 45-minutes to complete, but my results were astonishingly accurate in terms of how I already viewed myself even before taking the test. It’s kind of like a horoscope… but for your working style. Nobody really knows how or why it works, but somehow when we read about our astrological horoscopes we’re like “THAT’S SO ME!!”
4:00-5:00PM Tools for Healthy Growth: Strategic Execution, Amazing People and Extraordinary Culture – Chris Taylor (CEO-Fisher’s Technology)
This lecture was great because it really went over all the necessary aspects of starting and growing a company. In order to be successful, you have to solidify your beliefs. What do you hold valuable within your work? DO THE THINGS YOU VALUE—people work harder for a cause than money. Your organization must have a purpose, a problem it’s solving, goals and a running list of HOW you’ll reach those goals. Setting goals without a strategic plan of attack is a waste of time. You have to hone in on your strengths, or what you do “better” than anyone else in the world.
From here, Chris went into talking about building strong teams and company culture. Teams must have TRUST—vulnerable trust where people can say “sorry” for things they’ve done wrong. Teams must have CONFLICT—healthy conflict, because without conflict, there is no difference of opinion, and without difference of opinion, there is no room or reason for growth. Team members must have COMMITMENT—to the team, to the values and goals, and to yourself. ACCOUNTABILITY—for one’s actions… have integrity and take responsibility. Lastly, teams must set CLEAR EXPECTATIONS. Next time you’re disappointed in someone, ask yourself, “Did I set clear expectations?” If so, then it’s not about your miscommunication, it’s about their underperformance.
There was a mixer afterwards, but I was WIPED from all the awareness that was thrust upon my brain all day. I could have stayed for the free drinks that my press-pass included, but I got what I came for. The last thing I’d like to leave you with is a quote from Jess Flynn: “Power is gained by sharing knowledge, not hoarding it.”