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My Learning Experience at the Next Generation Leadership Conference 2016 Recap


on November 3, 2016 I attended the Next Generation Leadership Conference.  This conference was held in Tucson, Arizona at the Tucson Convention Center.  Walking from the parking garage to the Tucson Convention Center was breath-taking.  There were beautiful bright-colored buildings on the way.  It was an unusual day because it was raining and I saw lightning during my drive to Tucson.  I love to watch lightning light up the morning sky.

The conference was hosted by Arizona City/County Management Association (ACMA) and Alliance for Innovation Transforming Local Government.

The key note speaker was Darin Atteberry, City Manager, Fort Collins, Colorado

His presentation was about Changing Headwinds.  Here are some of the take aways from his presentation:

  • What do we want to do better?
  • Do we agree we want to do better?
  • Do we care about our work?
  • What’s one thing you believe that no one else believes?  This is an opportunity?
  • Let’s get things done!

We all need to start changing systems and the way we do things.  Connect socially and ask the tough questions “Why would people want to live in our community?” People want to see data and results.  As a leader, you need to ask hard questions.  You need to ask even harder questions.  Shift your thinking to collaboration.  When someone deeply cares they are committed.  Clarify the vision.  Lower the fences, let staff move around in different jobs and committees.

Here are some questions and statements I heard during the conference:

  • Do you genuinely love the people you work with?
  • Does your work give you goosebumps?
  • Don’t do stupid stuff?
  • Don’t take your job for granted.
  • Don’t forget you work with others.
  • Don’t forget to make time for you.
  • Don’t be a jerk at work.

The next leadership topic was Leading with Emotion.  Here are some of the take aways:

  • Nothing goes as planned.
  • Bad work exists.  Learn to recognize it and avoid it.
  • People are more important than work.
  • Some Managers are too nice to be effective.
  • Leadership is about doing what is needed and to stand up to people.
  • Some managers are too crazy.
  • You can’t do it all!
  • Be careful what you say.  Train yourself to stop when angry and not say it!
  • Take a positive attitude at work.
  • Building the right team makes teamwork better, life easier and be in tuned with others.

Leading with empathy is stepping out of ourselves.  Our views are not the only views. Start at a place of honesty and understand others perspectives.  Great managers are adept at managing finances, the budget and operations.  But managers who can do all that, plus effectively deal with emotions in the workplace become great leaders.

The next leadership topic was Rogue to Vogue: Perfecting Your Professional Image.  Here are some of the take aways:

  • Everything you do speaks.
  • Dress for the position you want to be in.   How are you dressing?
  • Present yourself where you want to be.  Watch your demeanor.  Be confident!  Attend Toastmaster to polish your speaking skills.
  • When writing emails – no smiley faces and proof read before publishing.
  • Keep your desk clutter free.
  • Have a good resume.

Creating the appropriate professional image in the workplace, from what you wear, to appropriate email behavior, to networking at a conference, this may make or break your professional image.  Everything you do creates your professional image.

The next leadership topic was Mistakes That Made Us Stronger.  Here are some of the take aways:

  • Be yourself and don’t forget who you are.
  • Stick to your code of ethics and have integrity.
  • Failure of leadership is liking titles/positions instead of being respectful no matter what the person’s position is.
  • Mistakes are learning opportunities.
  • Say thank you and mean it to 3 people each day.

As a leader, we all make mistakes.  It is important to learn from them and they do make us stronger.  The important question is “What is the culture you want to create in your leadership?”

My favorite part of the conference was at the end with the opportunity to speed coach with a variety of Government Leaders for five minutes.  The speed coaching included talking about career goals, career issues or feedback about a particular career path.  I really enjoyed the conference and took away a lot of information from it.  I am glad I had an opportunity to attend.  My hope is with me sharing my experience you learned a lot as well. ~ Patti

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