I'm sitting in a famous Anaheim hotel for my week long conference. I've been here for work before but never overnight. It's so strange to see all of the families in vacation mode while we're sitting through very intense meetings.
It's our first full day of the conference and the first thing they did was bus us an hour away. It was worth it though. We got our 360 surveys back. Those are surveys that we filled out on ourselves then asked Managers, peers, direct reports and clients to fill out on us. I didn't have any big surprises (phew!). It was interesting, especially the verbatim portion of the survey. People said very nice things but it made me paranoid that I should have asked more people to do the survey for me. I honestly expected more criticism. I guess I should shut up and be grateful. Some of the feedback made me laugh. Comments like "Has presence", "Publicly admits mistakes" and "Uses indirect influence" cracked me up. I don't see myself as having "presence" I think of it more of being a loud mouth. Within 2 hours of last night's mingle I offended a guy at my table. Oops! "Uses indirect influence? I totally do that. The survey claims it's a good thing but sometimes it a little devilish.
After studying our 360's we took a "class" picture then headed off to a big dinner. I say "big" because it was with all the BIG executives in our company. these are the men and women that run world famous divisions and ride on the corporate jet. They let them loose in a room with us, added cocktails and said "Go!". I have to admit that it was not something I was really looking forward to. I'm a fairly outgoing person but dumping me in a room full of rather aggressive strangers/peers and mingling with giants of industry is not necessarily a good time for me. I was pleasantly surprised. It was remarkably relaxed. I was one of the first few to step off the elevator. We walked into the restaurant and were greeted be three executives with HUGE smiles on their faces. It was so nice. I walked towards them and said "Look at those smiles! You look so proud." It was a fun evening. I met some great people that I would never have the opportunity to meet in any other environment. These are the people others are elbowing towards under ordinary circumstances. We eventually sat for dinner and they had the executives rotate tables after each course. It was great! Such smart and fun people. It was very inspirational. I also heard a comforting comment. A friend asked a big wig "What's the one thing you need to succeed around here?" Without skipping a beat he replied "Integrity. If you maintain a sense of integrity, people will follow. Strategy will come but you need the people behind you before you can get anywhere." I loved hearing that. It's something I've always believed but occasionally doubted. It was reassuring to hear. So much of what we're discussing is about "EI" or Emotional Intelligence. Looking around that room it was obvious that polishing your "EI" skills are a bigger deal than I ever dared to hope.
The people I'm spending the week with are remarkable. Some work right down the hall from me but in a different division so we'd never met before. I know it sounds stupid but it's the reality. It's hard to develop relationships when you're running around like a crazy woman all the time. It's been so great to make these contacts (Thom, you'd be proud.) and watch the lightbulbs flash over heads.
And speaking of flash bulbs, before they released us tonight they warned us that a VERY BIG promotional event will be going on tomorrow. Press and talent will be in the conference room next to ours prior to a red carpet world premiere. *shudder* I'll let you know how it goes. (Shandon, let's just say Cameron would have a heart attack.)
This is one trippy business adventure. I kept hearing a strange sound. I finally looked out my hotel room window and looked down to see the monorail whizzing by right under my window. Last night I heard some very loud pounding. I thought some idiot next to my room was beating down the wall then realized it's the fireworks from the park. Dang, they're loud! And my 6:15am wake up call was placed by none other than Mickey Mouse. Now, I like Mickey as much as the next girl but that voice at that hour is hard to handle.