The Nolands annual conference this year, the tenth, was earmarked for Friday the 14th of August and this was the date it took place, only in a very different format from the previous nine.
From 9am to 6pm South African time, 148 delegates from South Africa and our international offices in Africa, Mauritius, Switzerland and the UK met, collaborated, discussed, presented findings and conclusions, were presented to and had fun via video.
Instead of the usual technical break-away groups, each of Nolands Audit, Advisory and Law presented their groups findings on the effect of the pandemic and offered insights on the lasting impacts it will have on the future.
Our guest speaker for the day was Mark Sanborn, regarded by his peers and the public speaking market as being in the top 5 in the world. In normal circumstances, he would be out of our reach, but graciously accepted our invitation.
Mark spoke to us from Denver in the USA and because of the 8 hour time difference, began his presentation at 4pm SA time.
The theme of his presentation picked up from the feedback of the practice groups, and he took the conference through the need now to think differently and replace planning and process with agility and experimentation. He made the interesting point that the time we find ourselves in means that the emphasis on proactivity – a desirable leadership trait pre-pandemic - has been replaced by interactivity where leaders need to be flexible enough to deal with the changed environment in which they find themselves. His analogy for this was a surfer, who excels in the sport by interacting with the waves of all types presented by nature.
Another challenge he put to the audience was to re-think value and put forward the idea that we have moved into an Emotion Economy where the ability to, for instance, reduce anxiety or deliver on empathy and caring has taken on new importance.
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