New Managers’ Conference Provides a Perfect Forum for Career Development
July and August were busy months for the CIDM. SingleSource Associates and the CIDM hosted the second annual SingleSource 2000 conference in Chicago, Illinois, July 31-August 1. This sold-out event attracted over 200 participants who spent two packed days talking about the transition to single sourcing.
In response to member requests, the CIDM sponsored a second conference in August for individuals new to management. Again, we had a good response-more than fifty new managers joined the twelve speakers for three days of sessions, workshops, and networking. One of the CIDM’s goals is to foster collaboration and mentoring in our profession, and this conference certainly met this goal.
We structured the conference to move from personal topics to theories to practical applications. The participants had the opportunity to hear different-and sometimes conflicting-views on managing information-development departments. In addition to the voices of the speakers, the audience fully engaged on each topic and added their concerns, insights, examples, and questions to the discussions.
On Monday, Brad LaBroad, ADP Dealer Services, and Bill Gearhart, BMC Software, looked at the transition from independent contributor to manager and from one level of management to another. The slightly ironic humor each of them displayed could not hide their genuine enthusiasm for their new roles. Then, De Murr, Disney Imagineering, and Sherri Smith, Compaq Computer Corporation, took the stage and, in a very interactive way, discussed the lessons they’ve learned over their 20+ years as managers.
Monday afternoon offered organizational and personal insights. JoAnn Hackos, CIDM Director, presented an overview of the Information Process Maturity Model, which can help us evaluate our organizations’ strengths and weaknesses objectively. Katherine Brennan Murphy, Tapestry Communications, introduced a number of excellent resources that highlight how to develop leadership, creativity, and influence skills. She included an excellent video by Dewitt Jones, Everyday Creativity, in which this award-winning photographer discusses ways to expand and use our innate creative powers every day at work and home.
In addition to fostering collaboration, we made a serious effort to have fun! On Tuesday, we continued to focus on ourselves as managers and leaders in Beth Barrow’s (Nortel Networks) session, “Being Psychic.” Her talk looked at how analysis tools can help us understand ourselves and others more effectively. Although we spent the bulk of our time on our Myers-Briggs type, Beth started us off with a simpler personality indicator (see The Pig Personality Profile).
Tuesday afternoon, Palmer Pearson, Cadence Design Systems, took us through the tradeoffs and challenges of optimizing group performance while providing opportunities for employees to grow. Donna Sakson and Kathleen Holm, Sakson & Taylor, ended Tuesday’s sessions with a lively discussion on interpersonal communication skills, paying particular attention to dealing with difficult interactions and delegating successfully. Tuesday evening we all reconvened for a banquet, where each participant received a conference “diploma.”
On Wednesday, we turned to three practical skills every manager must master. Diane Davis, Synopsis, discussed performance reviews from the inside out. We then broke into small groups to create performance objectives based on some real-life scenarios. Mark Ace, Ace Communications, gave us down-to-earth, practical advice on effective hiring practices. In the afternoon, JoAnn Hackos offered solid advice on project estimating-why do it, how to get started, and when to get started.
We ended the session with all the participants discussing their “recipes for success.” Throughout the days we spent together, we had frequent breaks where we could meet one another and really talk about the challenges we all face as managers. Most participants felt that these breaks and meals helped them to connect with one another and were, in fact, as important as the formal conference sessions.