"Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand."- General Colin Powell
I love our Summits. Not only is it a chance to bring all of our members together and re-connect, but it is also when we can see that quote in action. This was never more true than at the SIG Global Leadership Summit last month in Scottsdale, Arizona. For three days, we gathered in general sessions, panel discussions, breakout presentations and networking events and heard leading companies simplify complex outsourcing arrangements, share highlights of their multi-year procurement transformations and define best practices in talent/risk/performance/fill-in-the-blank management. We listened as companies with household names shared "next practice" successes and "never practice" failures, and learned from them all.
We had record attendance on Tuesday, October 9, as we started our pre-Summit day in a decidedly "un-pre-Summit" way. We kicked off the event with a keynote presentation by Stephen Shapiro, an Innovation Evangelist who drew in a large crowd by sharing his thoughts on why "best practices are stupid." Sounds a little anti-SIG, right? Not if you understand the context. According to Shapiro, if you are copying someone's best practice in your industry, you are not staying ahead you are merely catching up. BUT, if you look outside your industry for new ideas, you can come up with incredible innovations. In other words...don't just look outside the box...find a new box.
We rounded out the day Tuesday with workshops and executive roundtables, where Shapiro again spoke to a group of executives about "personality poker" and the importance of understanding what makes people tick when building effective teams. Deep-dive discussions also took place around concepts such as risk management, talent retention, sourcing pressure points and outsourcing as we know it. We will be sharing some of the insights from those discussions on a special webinar tomorrow, Thursday, November 15th.
Wednesday and Thursday, we started our days with more great keynotes and breakout sessions, including a debate in which we heard how the outcome of the Presidential election would impact sourcing and outsourcing. It will be interesting to see if the predictions made by our amazing presenters, Fred McClure and Terry Goddard, ring true. The morning general sessions were rounded out by an interesting presentation by Jeff Sorensen who provided insights on sourcing and outsourcing from the perspective of the former Army CIO, followed by Shin-Wen Kuo of HP who led an engaging discussion on the imperative of procurement to build world-class talent, a theme that we heard resonated throughout the event.
In truth though, for as much as I enjoy the various presentations and panels...my favorite part of the Summit is the opportunity to reconnect with old colleagues and meet new ones at our networking events. The value of having time to "just talk" cannot be underestimated. Frankly, it is those casual conversations that often lead to the biggest breakthroughs.
I hope that you are reading this letter as a recap of an event you are remembering fondly, but if you didn't make it to Scottsdale, I sincerely hope that you have already marked your calendar for May 14-16, when we will convene for another Summit in Florida!