Today I listened to a speaker that held my attention not just once, but twice. One of those times was post-lunch which is the most difficult for me. Of course I also did some break-dancing after lunch as well so my blood was pumping. More on the break dancing later.
Today, Simon Sinek came and spoke to our worldwide IT Evangelist team. I didn't have high hopes because these kind of "rah rah, shake the pom-poms and rally the troops" sessions do anything but most of the time. But ten minutes in he had my attention as well as every other ITE in the room. That is a pretty tall order for a bunch of Type A personalities that are accustomed to controlling the conversation.
Simon is CEO of Sinek Partners. His blog is here. He works with companies and organizations to help them realize the "why" in what they do. If you check out his site or just do a search on him and spend some time reading the articles, the common theme that develops is that many companies know what the do, but not why the do it. As a result, many of the employees are in the same boat - they know what the do but not why.
It was an eye-opening experience when he was talking about this and I asked myself why I do what I do. It didn't take long for me to figure out that the answer I gave myself in about 2-3 minutes of thought is completely different from the answer I have given people for the past 6 years I have been an evangelist. Anyone who has asked me what I do for a living would hear me say that I work for Microsoft as an IT Evangelist. Anyone outside the industry would be clueless and those in the industry would likely start making assumptions. I typically would toss in "I travel around the country speaking to people about Microsoft's great products and technologies" which is completely accurate but still doesn't provide a lot of clarity as to what I really do, much less why I do it.
His talk with us today helped re-invigorate my passion for what I do at Microsoft which is really to help educate IT Pros on the products, technologies and services that can help make them more productive, efficient and successful in their roles. That is a much better description of what I do and also covers in part why I do it.
I could spend the next 2 hours going on and on about the impact his talks with us today had but I have to finish this post up by midnight to make my post for the day and I still have more to talk about so I promise that I will go more into this later this week (has to be later in the week because I will be in training, lectures, and other activities from 8am till later every day this week)
Imagine if you will a 6'3" 240 pound guy that believes toe tapping is a form of dance on a stage trying to break dance. You don't have to imagine too much because I believe we actually have some film of it. I will see what I can do to get it and get it posted here.
Why was I break dancing? It was a team building exercise where we had to work as a break dance team to come up with moves and compete against other teams for the spot of best break dance team. If that weren't bad enough, we did this little exercise immediately after lunch.
It was a lot of fun and it did demonstrate team building, but it was not a pretty site. Multiply me times about 40, add/remove a few pounds and inches of height here and there and we had a recipe for hilarious disaster. Think about it.....the bulk of us are in our late 30's to early 40's and we are.....break dancing..... It still has me laughing.
After all of the official team building and lectures, we were treated to dinner and Teatro Zinzanni. This is a dinner theater style venue in downtown Seattle that combines, song, comedy, theater, acrobatics and a dash of circus type flair along with a 5 course meal. Great showmanship by the entire cast that interacts very well with the crowd. If you have ever been to a "Tina and Tony's Wedding" type show, it is similar though not quite as fast paced. Great place to take a date (albeit not a cheap one!) and families could easily make an evening of it. Just make sure you have enough time carved out for it. I believe we spent right at 3.5 hours and every bit of it was worth it.
Beat the deadline again!
I will be Twittering and blogging is bursts this week as I attend sessions and will communicate what I am allowed to tell you about cool and interesting stuff.