Posts Tagged 'covey'

Thoughts from Envision 08

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the Envision 08 conference in San Antonio.  To be completely honest, I didn’t have real high expectations.  I thought I might meet a few people who could be potential clients.  Mostly, I was hoping to talk with new people and learn about other businesses.  That is something I really enjoy.  I am always trying to figure out who I can introduce to whom. 

After arriving in San Antonio, I checked into the Marriot Rivercenter and was very happy with my room and the hotel.  I grabbed a quick workout, and headed to the networking in the exhibit hall.  I bumbed into some friends from Houston, and met some new people.

We adjourned to dinner in the main salon and were greeted by Richard Scruggs of the Texas A&M Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship.  I quickly realized that in a conference of about 350 people, I was one of out about 5 or 6 Longhorns.  There was one at my table, but he was even from a competing company to mine.

After dinner, Marcus Buckingham was the keynote speaker.  I had heard of him, but must admit, I had never read his books.  I usually don’t expect much from keynote speakers.  I expect them to hawk their latest book, and give some “rah-rah” speech…possibly even getting members of the audience involved on stage.  Marcus was amazing, though.  He was extremely witty, and not in the usual cheesy keynote speaker way. I thought he had great information, a very engaging style, and a message I really enjoyed hearing.  We even got a copy of his latest book.  He was a fantastic start to the conference, and I went to bed thinking about how I can capitalize on my strengths.

The next morning was Guy Kawasaki.  He gave his talk on The Art of Innovation.  Of course, he has some great anecdotes from his time with Apple and as a VC in California.  He is very approachable.  However, as with many entrepreneurs and VC’s who give advice, I take his advice somewhat lightly.  He has had some successes, but those don’t always translate into my business or my life.  I always try to take one or two things from every talk I hear.  What I took from Guy was to have a mantra, not a mission statement.  

I attended a breakout session by Paul Barker of the Afterburner Group about adding value to your business.  I really enjoyed his talk, as I am always trying to add value rather than just adding revenue.  If the revenue I add isn’t valuable, it might not be worth the time and effort.   

After some networking in the exhibit hall, we went in to lunch.  The speaker was Flip Flippen.  My wife has heard him speak and has taken his Capturing Kids’ Hearts course.  His talk was about breaking through the constraints that hold us back in life.  He was very entertaining, and had some good data and anecdotes.  There were some areas where he and Marcus were similar, and there were some conflicting ideas.  Of course, afterward, Mr. Flippen had to answer questions relating to the differences between his and Marcus’s views, and he did so very well.  He was even kind enough to sign a book for my wife afterward. 

I spent the afternoon getting some work done, and missed the afternoon keynote.  That evening we were bussed to a ranch.  The bus ride was incredbily long because of traffic, but I think the wait was worth it.  The ranch was beautiful, and the food was excellent.  I think everyone enjoyed getting out of the hotel and being outdoors.  I had the chance to talk with quite a few people about business.

The next morning the keynote speaker was Stephen Covey.  Of course, I expected his to be the best.  I was a little disappointed though.  I felt as if I had to have read his books to follow along.  There were several diagrams used, as well as teminology from the 7 Habits.  He is also a very monotone speaker, so jokes and changes of topics are difficult to discern.  Maybe it was because it was early, but I really feel like I got the least out of Mr. Covey’s talk.

After I packed up, I had the opportunity to be on the radio through my friend Kathy Bowersox.  I really appreciated it, and I had just enough time to break off an email to my friends to let them know to listen. 

I actually bought the latest Marcus Buckingham book on audio CD for the car ride home.  I have been listening to it, and have even taken the Strengths Finder exam.  I highly recommend it.  I am now a big fan of his, and look forward to reading all his books.