Training and Development Professionals meet in Dallas: The law of success: Love what you do
From May 19 to 22 over 9,000 people attended the American Society for Training and Development International Conference and Exposition at the Dallas Convention Centre in Dallas, Texas. There were 87 countries represented with 2,200 attendees from outside the United States. This annual conference is the premier gathering for people in this field.
This year’s conference themes were Content, Community and Global Perspective. The motivation for attending the conference is to keep up to date in the rapidly changing field of training and human resource development. Attendees learn the latest techniques and best practices. Presenters are selected for their ability to provide tools that can be used by training and development professionals to improve performance and increase productivity in their workplaces.
The large exposition, which is an integral part of the conference, had an impressive array of books, DVDs, training instruments, tests, learning games, etc. It also included presentations by many leaders in the field including Ken Blanchard and Bob Pike.
The five countries, excluding the United States, with the highest representation at this year’s conference and exposition were: Korea (387), Canada (235), China (172), Japan (128) and Brazil (124).
There were no registered attendees from Bermuda. This may be a reflection of our current economic situation as Bermuda has been represented in the past.
The opening keynote address was delivered by Sir Ken Robinson, PhD. Sir Ken is an internationally recognised leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation. He is also one of the world’s leading speakers. He has a wonderful British sense of humour and is perfectly at ease with his audience. Sir Ken moved from the UK to Los Angeles where he now lives with Lady Robinson and their two children.
In his address he emphasised the importance of passion about one’s work. He provided some examples about people who had talent but just didn’t have passion about what they were doing. Such people don’t look forward to going to work each day. They’re therefore missing out a lot on life. Sir Ken said that it was important for people to discover what they’re passionate about and do it in work and life. To do this we need to realise where our talents lie and put these talents to work. As an industrial/organisational psychologist I can really identify with this sentiment. We’ve all heard that life is too short to be doing something you don’t enjoy.
Sir Ken kindly agreed to meet the press for a private session following his presentation and book signing. In this session he spoke about how important it is that we encourage our children to explore what they’re passionate about. I asked him about suggestions he had for parents and he spoke about education, a topic about which he is extremely knowledgeable. We need to encourage our children to develop their talents. While we would all like to see our children pursue professions which we think provide job security that may not be where their talents and passion are. As the father of a teenage daughter I was particularly interested in his thoughts on this topic. He then told me his son was an actor. This is a profession that we do not normally link to job security. However, that’s where his passion lies and Sir Ken has provide his support.
Paul Loftus is an industrial/organisational psychologist, an intercultural consultant and a freelance journalist. He has been conducting both public and in-company management development seminars in Bermuda for over 20 years. He can be reached on (514) 282-9111; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.paulloftus.ca