AOM 2011 – WEST MEETS EAST – THE FINAL DAY
And so it’s the final day. The conference hasn’t been as good as usual (in fact I might reconsider next year). It’s a pity. I’ve lain awake wondering what the difference is and finally arrived at an explanation that works for me (apart from the ear infection which I accept changed my experience a tad).
In all the years past, the spirit of the conference has been about contributing. People speak freely, are happy to share (another American term that has totally crept into the lexicon) and there has been an upbeat energy. This year, two things are different. The focus has been on what people can get; there seems to be a lot of talk about managing being mistreated (whether by organisations or individuals), and how to get advantage (power – so very much talk about power); and the energy has been much more subdued, perhaps even verging on resentful. Is it a function of the times where economies, organisations and individuals are feeling threatened, unsure and looking to protect themselves?
Whatever the explanation, it simply hasn’t been as good and as Day 5 closes I haven’t heard the ‘thing’ that makes it all worthwhile.
But in case you are wondering what made me reflect so heavily and uncharacteristically….
Well the last day (and again I find myself wondering if my choices of sessions are all wrong), I’m sitting in a session about autocratic leadership. I’ve sat as far at the back as possible – because to be honest I’m tired and am not committed to seeing this through. Thank goodness for the veritable bucket of coffee I am nursing and sipping (had to move on from the iced tea of the start of the conference as the schedule has worn me down).
So, to autocratic leadership. To quote an advert from a few years ago, ‘tis good’. Yes, it’s official, it seems people believe in, and are starting to employ, autocratic leadership (again). Seems it has many benefits over the perceived inclusive approaches adopted over recent years. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry but the main reason for this employment of autocratic leadership is… wait for it… fewer power struggles… and the power struggles that do happen are of lower intensity, shorter duration and have a limited scope of impact. Well I never.
I hope you don’t mind, but with that pearl of wisdom – and I did stay for the whole session hoping for more – I’ve decided to call it a day on AoM 2011.
However, it is true that I’ve long believed that benevolent dictatorship is the way to get things done in projects so perhaps the rest of the world is finally catching up with me… sorry, dropped off in the fantasy there. Ooops… head shake for clarity and I’m back in the real world.
Love to hear your thoughts and see what you think about any and all of my observations across the conference. And of course if you fancy drinking from the fire hose of management thought mark your diary for next year – and maybe you can send me the updates and I’ll take a break? Can’t blame a girl for trying.
Hope you are well and looking forward to seeing you soon, best regards, DianePortfolios Programs Projects – simply making them happen