Death by Conference: When Smart People Use Comic Sans

Dear Speaker,

Here’s the deal. If you get a stage to share your knowledge, it is your duty to humankind to influence the way people think, live, believe and behave — not just talk about yourself/product/service. Knowledge is only power when it enables others to invite simplicity, ease and greatness into their life. Knowledge is not a stockpile of information you think is so important that every gold nugget you’ve acquired over the years needs to be squeezed into an hour on a podium with a lapel mic. Information dissemination when not consciously designed is just complexity. Complexity is ego. Complexity is a form of intellectual trickery and deceit. Complexity is the enemy of learning.

Every encounter be it in a physical or virtual classroom, social media or a passing conversation, is a platform whose best use is to make someone’s life and therefore universal existence, better. It’s what we all want at the end of the day — better sleep,wealth, health, influence, life insurance, gas prices, thighs. We don’t want to climb the hero soapbox and and take the caped crusader’s stance, no. No we do not. We want to knock that box right out from under you so we can sit around the proverbial fire and share stories of coffee stained dress shirts and torn pantyhose, then take time to figure out what it all means. We don’t want to be like Mike, we want to be Mike or Michaela 4.0.

Dear Attendee,

What if you forked out thousands of dollars to attend an industry event —flight, hotel, Town Car, expensive sushi, fancy socks, designer suit. Dollars you deducted from your fake-it-till-you-make-it fund thrown at the chance to gain know-how, network and finally say NO the next time your boss says, “Yes, but…”

What if this, a key part of your own hustle for happiness—is to be attained by sitting in the front row in a middle seat, listening to a person who enjoyed the sound of their own voice and took pride in the chaos of mismatched colours and the unskilfully animated collision of Comic Sans, Calibri and Times New Roman Bold fonts in the name of learning?

What makes you different, lining up with your branded boxed lunch and vendor swag, than the assembly line workers with their faded jumpsuits, hair nets and lunch pails?

Dear Speaker,

Don’t be a foreman when you can be a foreseer. Value is derived from setting a big vision, not from deathy by clicking. If you’re creating your own presentation materials are you really utilizing your time most effectively, gaining momentum on the maximum value generation track?

What makes you different, queueing with your designer labels, Blackberries, VIP badges and small PC laptops than the assembly liners with their faded jumpsuits, hair nets, candy striper gettups and lunch pails?

Dear Participant,

Yes, you are participants, not attendees. You are an active part of the problem and solution. Learning or lack thereof does not happen to you unless you let it. Want to truly be a hero, rise above the rest, save your family and the world? Complete the evaluation form like a boss, like it’s the template for designing the leader of your dreams, the job of your dreams—like your life depends on it…because it does.

DEAR ALL CONFERENCE GOERS: Speakers & Participants,

What really makes you different…from each other? Nothing, until you CONSCIOUSLY CLICK.

Sincerely,

Fellow Conference Participant and Learner

salimaname

Elevating Human Potential: My Focus at #HRTech Conference

Hope, determination, excitement and courage are in the air here in Las Vegas aka Sin City, the home of eternal Elvis impersonators and chapels that change lives in ways that only Hollywood can best depict. Here’s what I adore about the life force and energy beast of this city sitting on the fringes of sanity in the heart of the desert – the moment you land at the airport, you arrive at a level playing field. Take that in for a moment. What happens here usually stays here (according to the Las Vegas brand) and as we learned through the movies, one can be anyone or anything they would like to, or no one at all. This is the exciting part of attending a conference in Las Vegas – the air of anything is possible. No holds barred, no boundaries on our imagination and our only responsibility being to embody this during our journey.

We are at a confluence of innovation and human potential at the Annual HR Technology Conference (#HRTechConf).Technology has been developed and platforms have been designed, tested and await the reaction of those who will write, talk and lead new ways of living on the clock and off. The greatest of blurred lines is the one that appears between work and play in the social HR sandbox – MY sandbox and for me, this event is all about learning – in every sense of the word, starting with enterprise learning.

Collective is the New Intelligence
Copyright 2013 Salima Nathoo

My curiosity at #HRTechConf is guided by the pursuit of answering these questions:

As we continue to have unprecedented access to a growing reservoir of knowledge while being inundated with the noise of useless information…

  1. How do we create Lean Learning opportunities in the workplace?

  2. Who are the disruptors designing and facilitating the types of exchanges and encounters that create best places to work while pioneering the new frontier for employee engagement and getting sh!t done?

  3. Which platforms are fundamentally changing the way we cultivate lasting relationships with the art and science of knowledge acquisition – creating love affairs with micro learning?

My hustle:

Conscious Disruption – “Show Up (check). Be Curious (check). Raise the Game.” (let’s talk – I’ll be in the blogger’s lounge or at your booth).

salimaname

A Day of Reflection and Remembrance

The World in Our Hands

“Democracy must be nurtured in ways that are practical and flexible. Pluralism must be embraced, so that it exists both in fact and in spirit. A diverse, engaged civil society will advance these values.”
— Excerpt, Where Hope Takes Root

Dear Community,

I’m a former New Yorker, a 9/11 survivor, and an Ismaili Muslim. I am blessed to have walked away that day, physically unharmed. But no matter how many years that pass, I will never forget the sight of all the falling stars we couldn’t catch. And sometimes on this day, I feel like I’m still trying to catch myself.

Embrace today. Love, hug, thank, be thankful and carry light in your heart for all of humanity that has and continues to needlessly suffer.

I am grateful for pluralism, freedom, and the friendships of the familiar & of the chance encounters that deepen my awareness about the responsibility of being human.

salimaname

 

#FabulousHasNoFear

My Top 6 Smarten-Up Lessons on Work, Life & Play

This summer marked the start to a new year in my life and I’ve been reflecting on how to shape the coming months. I’ve been very fortunate to have some fantastic experiences and opportunities. But it hasn’t been all “kittens n’ sunshine” though with the life lessons. Some of these lessons have been harder than others (way harder) and I’ve persevered because I’ve been surrounded by people who have believed in me, hustled on my behalf, and paved the way by sharing their own enlightened experiences. So in the spirit of paying it forward, here are my Top 6 Smarten-Up Lessons on Work, Life & Play:

#NoHustleWasted. The shortcut to success takes years to create. There’s no copy & paste formula and along the way you’ll fail. Good. Failure is an outcome not a brand. If we don’t fail, we can’t grow and we remain stuck in the fallacy that more of the same means progress. It doesn’t. You’ll screw up, own it and show up again.

Owning mistakes is not easy. It means being courageous and humble, and leading outside our comfort zone, which also happens to be where the magic happens. If you find yourself with a fresh blank canvas – fill it with ideas and don’t be afraid to colour outside the lines, perfection is the enemy.

“If you’re not giving back, you’re taking too much.” ~ Robin Sharma
I got something like 120 Happy Birthday messages on my personal Facebook page this year. Unheard of for me – I was overwhelmed and extremely grateful, and I responded to each one of them, individually. My personal messages were a way for me to say, “I see you, I hear you, I value you and I care.” Keep it real and give thanks, regularly.

Chances are designed to be given, taken. We can all identify a time when someone took a big risk to invest in our potential. Now gift it to someone else – pay it forward.  And if an opportunity comes your way, don’t let fear be a barrier. Be swift in evaluating the fit for personal values, culture and future aspirations and decide, quickly. Be audacious when your gut says so and smart when you know it’s not a win-win. Be curious – lead with this.

Serve and Protect – Being generous with your knowledge is a form of service and community building. In authentic relationships, where the level of social and emotional intelligence is high, this occurs with a spirit of reciprocity. Find these connections and cultivate them. There are also those who seek to climb to success on the backs of others and we can’t avoid them entirely. So listen more and be selective in what you share that you haven’t already published. It’s a form of brand and intellectual property protection.

Say Hell No to Status Quo – Unless you’re dead set on building a brand that says “I’m the cookie cutter of the corporate world”, don’t be afraid to be different. Take roles that are interesting, volunteer where you can grow your knowledge, network and connections, and take on off-the-beaten path projects. Disrupt — I dare you.

Here’s the thing, we’re in this together, all of us. And since there is no instruction manual for life, the only way to Raise the Game is if we elevate our potential and stick together.

What are some of your best lessons learned in the past year? Share them below in the comments.

Digital Glory: My Very Own Blog

Here I am…in all my digital glory standing at the precipice of the uncharted journey two years in the making — my very own blog. I’ve been guest blogging for a bit now and as I’ve shared with audiences in my talks, if you’re not social and digital, you don’t exist. So it was about time I walked the talk by making a deeper footprint with a website to complement my social engagement. Welcome to a perpetual open house where people can visit and make themselves at home with knowledge, ideas and perspectives. A place to kick it up a notch with purpose.

“You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him discover what’s within himself.” – Galileo

I like to think of myself as a dot connector and knowledge facilitator, helping others find the shortest distance from A to “Be”, so you can be more of who you already are, with ease and become who you are meant to be at work and at play (if you’re lucky, these are one in the same).  My fierce curiosity means I’ll be writing about a variety of topics: Leadership, Learning and Social HR with a side of Social Good and Entrepreneurship and a fresh twist on life I like to call ‘The Art of Being Human’.

“Think beyond the boundaries of someone else’s imagination.” – Me, naturally

Here you are. You showed up. Awesome. Now it’s about being and staying curious. So have a look around, learn a bit more about me, get in on the Fresh Ink action by subscribing to get me in your inbox, and of course, say hello. Lot’s more to come…