Post SHRM13: Become Wildly Different


“Chicago does not restore, it makes something wildly different” – Saul Bellow

These words, written on a wall at the Hancock Observatory, ring loud and clear in the immediate wake of the SHRM Annual Conference (SHRM13). For the most part, I think the people who attended the conference can relate.

We didn’t go to SHRM13 to rest. We didn’t go for escape. We went to become something wildly different. To use some of SHRM’s words, we went to become “stronger, bolder, braver”.

How could it be any other way?

How could anyone attend general sessions that included Fareed Zakaria, Hillary Clinton, Blake Mycoskie, Dan Pink, Mark Kelly & Gabby Giffords and come back as the same person?

How could anyone sit through a trillion, billion, zillion concurrent sessions held by thought leaders, authors and accomplished speakers and not be changed?

How could anyone go to the Official SHRM Tweet  UP with DJ Jazzy Jeff, or the Tuesday night Kelly Clarkson show and not get a different perspective of the people who make up the Human Resources profession?

“Chicago builds itself up, knocks itself down, scrapes away the rubble and starts over.” – Saul Bellow

I spent an extra day and half in Chicago after the conference. I couldn’t be in the city, without taking at least a little time to experience the city. As an introvert, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get some time alone to get my thoughts together post conference.

It hit me pretty quickly that just as fast as the conference had started, it had ended. For a few days in June, we came together in what amounts to a celebration of what we are and what we hope that our best selves can become.

Then poof! Done.

We’re left to figure out how to make all of this work. And believe me, it won’t be easy. Back in the ‘real world’, it will feel like everything is working against making what we’ve learned happen.

But then again, isn’t that the point? Would it be worth doing if it was easy?

Let’s not let SHRM13, that moment in time, suffer at the hands of our day to day. Let’s not let our plans be worn down by time or distance.

Let’s take that ONE GREAT IDEA, and make it happen. The rest will follow.

“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will themselves not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die.” – Daniel Burnham, Plan of Chicago

We’ve got work to do.

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