“The riskiest thing we can do is play it safe. Difference and happiness lies outside of our comfort zone. It is up to us because we are leaders.”
A couple of weeks ago I attended a very interesting professional development event titled “A Night with Alan Quarry.” Alan is a local communicator that owns Quarry Integrated Communications. He is highly respected in the community and is known as a thought leader. I had heard a ton about Alan and his company but had not had a chance to meet this highly respected individual or hear how he got to where he is and his plans for moving forward. I felt this was a great opportunity, not only to network, but to look at communications from a very different perspective. The session was even recommended to my by my Manager so I was very eager to attend this event.
During the event I met several new contacts. I met “one of the best writers in Ontario,” named Bill from the Ontario Farm Association (or something close to that). The two of us along with a man working in communications at Blackberry had a very interesting discussion after the event about the life-cycle of Blackberry and where we thought things were headed. We discussed an article featured in the Globe and Mail and it was very interested to get the inside take from the communicator at Blackberry. He thought the article was honest, harsh but true. Bill and I agreed, providing insight from two very different industries.
I also chatted with a couple of individuals that I had not seen in a while. It was great to catch up on a personal level and chat about the topics and points from the presentation that we agreed with as well as those that we didn’t. One of the ideas discussed was the set up of the traditional office and overall organizational chart. Alan blew this apart, stating that in order to be creative, we cannot sit in cubicles day in and day out attempting to work our way up the corporate ladder as this is not how innovation works. This was my greatest take-away. I have always worked in an office with a cubicle and your standard org chart and this got me thinking about alternate options and if the “traditional way” really is the best way, especially when considering the next generation entering the workplace.
In summary, I would definitely attend a similar event again. I have to say that I attend at least a couple of professional development events a month and this one really stood out to me. It opened up my mind in a way that hasn’t happened before and it got me thinking, just because we have done something one way for so long, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a better way and it doesn’t mean that even if it is successful now that it will be in the future.