Illinois SHRM 2014 has come to a close.
I’m in the airport lounge at O’Hare waiting for my flight to be called. I’ve spent a stack of my air miles on a business class upgrade although I’m so tired I feel like I could sleep even if they threw me in the luggage hold.
I had high hopes for this trip and they’ve been comfortably exceeded. After a Friday night sitting in a downtown bar enjoying the baseball on the TV and the local beer and pizza, the following day I visited the wonderful Art Institute of Chicago again, this time with Joe Gerstandt.
Joe and I then got to fulfil a long held ambition to work together, when we opened the conference on Sunday with an opportunity for people to explore how they might bring the artist in them, to work. It was an ambitious, emergent collaboration of 100 people.
The experimentation was bold and energetic and enjoyable – I will reflect on it further and maybe write a little more soon.
Sunday night saw a reprise of last year’s fireside unplugged karaoke and a gentle brush with the law after the hotel manager decided to call the cops in order to get us to go to bed around 1am. Why he didn’t just ask us – I’ll never know, but when I suggested to the police officer that this was not a good use of his time, he simply told me the decision to send us to be was ‘unrebuttable’. So I learned a new word, which was nice.
Monday morning came around and I gave a talk on collaboration – an evolution of my ‘We Are Better Together‘ session, which also drew on some of what I learned when I worked with Neil Morrison at Louisiana SHRM earlier this year. The talk was scheduled to take place in the main theatre – and it was a very odd experience being on a stage typically used by the acting profession.
The bright lights made it almost impossible to see the audience and I need eye contact, it’s one of the things that helps me relax, so once I got started, I hopped on and off the stage and wandered about a lot. The response was great – thanks to everyone who came along.
Monday evening we went bowling for fun and to raise money for the No Kid Hungry charity. The bowling was really enjoyable – I managed a score of 153 in one game, take that! John Hudson offered to top the donation up if anyone got a strike in the closing game, by which time I’d gone off the boil – but the incentive briefly reignited me and he had to put his hand in his pocket 😉 Back from the bowling Dwane kindly invited a few of us to his room for a sneaky beer or two.
Tuesday morning was spent listening to Jennifer McClure give her session, and then came bag packing and many lovely goodbyes.
The crowd at Illinois SHRM are fantastic. I’ve been thanked more times than I can remember in the past couple of days, the motivation and encouragement are heartfelt, humbling, and gratefully received. Thank you to everyone who has helped me have such a thoroughly exhausting, fantastic time.
I’m in transition. I don’t want to leave and I can’t wait to get home.