For any first time conference there is a level uncertainty from everyone. The hosts, the presenters, and of course the attendees are all a bit uncertain of what is to come. That is to be expected. Let me tell you that the team at Elevate17 knocked it out of the park.
The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee was fabulous. The speakers were dynamic and on point, the attendees were hungry to learn and connect. It truly was a great event. Kudos to Stacy Stephens, Ryan Hanley, Sidney Roe, Marty Agather, and more for creating a magnificent experience for all those who attended.
As much as I love to attend and speak at conferences like Elevate17, conferences do not change you or your insurance agency.
Yes, I said it…..Conferences (even great ones like Elevate17) do not change you or your insurance agency.
I believe that conferences are a catalyst for change, but they do not create change. Change only occurs when you move from an event to a process.
As my mentor says, “Most people overestimate the importance of events and underestimate the power of a process.”
No one comes home from a conference changed……change only occurs when you take the information and relationships and turn it into a consistent process.
As a speaker, I want to create positive change for everyone in my audience, but I fully realize that I can’t change anyone. We all have the power to change, but change comes from within. Events can offer new ideas, hope, insight, and resources to create positive change, but it’s up to every person and every organization to instill change.
In my presentation at Elevate17, I spoke on being intentional, consistent, and stretching beyond your comfort zone. All of these concepts are easy to talk about, but extremely hard to put into action.
However, when you put the power of a process into your life, your results will improve dramatically.
What’s the difference between an event and process? As John Maxwell writes about in his best-selling leadership book, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” here are a few.
- An event encourages decisions while a process encourages development
- An event motivates people while a process matures people
- An event is a calendar issue while a process is a culture issue
- An event challenges people while a process changes people
- An event is easy while a process is difficult.
What do after you attend a conference or any event?
Have you ever come back from a conference with pages of notes, but never put any of the ideas into action? I know I have. What a waste.
I teach leadership to insurance agencies and insurance professionals. Here is what I know.
Leaders are learners.
Leadership experts Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus wrote about the relationship between growth and leadership: “It is the capacity to develop and improve their skills that distinguishes leaders from their followers.”
There should be no goal to attend an event other than it provides you with greater ability to improve and build on your current progress every single day.
It’s been said that if I need to be inspired to take steps forward, then I’ll attend an event. If I want to improve, I’ll engage in a process and stick with it.
So where do you start?
When it comes to the content that you receive at a conference, I say start with one thing. Yes, just one thing. After you return from a conference or any event what is the ONE thing you will begin to implement and execute EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Look through your notes and ideas you wrote down. What is the one thing that is really speaking to you now? What is the one thing that will give you the greatest return in your business? Start with that.
This doesn’t mean you have to abandon the other ideas and concepts you learned, it just means you need to start with one and give it your complete focus and attention. Put the other ideas in a box and place them on a shelf for later use.
The second thing is to build upon the relationships you formed. I met some of the most amazing people at Elevate17 and this true at almost any conference. The people we surround ourselves with and learn from can make or break your success.
Make sure you follow-up with both new and existing relationships. Tell them how much you appreciated seeing them, learning from them, listening to them. It’s been said that our network determines our net worth and believe that to be true.
The Power of Process
Growth and leadership only occurs through consistent effort. Benjamin Disraeli stated, “The secret to success in life is for a man to be ready for his time when it comes.”
As I shared in my recent presentation, discipline is not sexy, but there is nothing more powerful than compounding consistency.
One of my favorite quotes comes from President Theodore Roosevelt. President Roosevelt has an amazing story and was a dynamic leader.
“It’s not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms; the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”
Theodore Roosevelt was a man of action. In fact, while preparing to deliver a speech, incidentally in Milwaukee, Roosevelt was shot, yet finished the speech before going to the hospital. Now that is true man of action….or at least stubbornness.
Growth and leadership is a daily process. You must take action every day to build on the momentum of any event or experience. Great leaders are lifelong learners. They understand that leadership is not developed in a day, but daily, and they never stop learning.
What would happen if you would take action every day on just one idea you learned while attending an event?
What would happen if you nurtured a new relationship you developed at a conference every day?
Engage in the process today.
Brent Kelly is a keynote speaker, trainer, and coach and certified partner with the #1 leadership development company in the world, The John Maxwell Team. He helps insurance agency leaders gain influence, build powerful connections, and grow their book of business.