Peter and I have been working together for close to 10 years now with global leaders mostly CEO’s and HR, and also the real influencers impacting the Future of Work – people like Nick Holley, Rachel Botsman, Naomi Bloom, Peter Hinssen, Costas Markides, Lynda Gratton, Dan Pink, Gary Hamel and a few more. When I first met Peter, I was interviewing him for a production role and first thing I loved about him was how he bashed the living daylights out of the old Eastern Bloc mentality and ways of working – much has changed since then – there are arguably a few more smiles and a little less bureaucracy behind what was once the iron curtain! I needed to be around someone who speaks their mind out loud and wears their heart on their sleeve … asides from all chats/time spent on weather, politics, EU, etc.
We’ve overcome mountains of difficulties on what has been and continues to be an interesting journey together; not always what we expected, but deep down we both still remain dreamers and that’s important! I am so happy I met him here in Hungary, now he hides in France in place I imagine to be hidden like outer Mongolia where their windows and dining table looks out on to pristine French countryside – expect when the view is interrupted by the elderly neighbouring basque beret wearing farmer who continues to pee, as he has always done, outside and in full view of his voisinage! – the image still makes me laugh out loud every time we meet. Sorry it’s been years since we had fun blogging and we used to throw out things like this to make sure the reader is still reading at this point.
2 or 3 months before the recession hit in 2008 I took out a nice office on Szt Istvan Korut in central downtown Budapest to hire 8 or so people (it never happened!) above what was soon to become the biggest nightclub for kids in Budapest. Our first day in the office – I had a conversation with Peter about getting Steve Jobs on as a keynote speaker … sitting on his bouncing ball that he uses for his bad back … he managed to bop away from me, keep a straight face and look back into his Mac not saying anything – maybe there was a murmur, but had there been it probably would have turned into the red-faced crazy laughter that we have enjoyed over the years. I could see the thought cloud above his head – By Jove, the Paddy really has lost it now!
Fast forward a few years – past all the fun and nasty stuff that comes with recession, starting from and with nothing, building a business – secretly Peter and I are having bundles of fun trying to get the biggest names imaginable in the world – so not so crazy Paddy anymore! When we were at London last week, I really revelled and enjoyed Peter’s confidence when nearly everyone we met asked us How did we get Sir Richard Branson for October?! That and another conversation that made us laugh about doing an event in Moscow, where years back one of our team had the misfortune to be taken into custody for being Ukrainian and Peter spent a number of nights in a hotel where he looked out of his window onto a statue of Lenin pointing the way, and a restaurant frequented by the Foreign Minister where statuettes of Stalin gaze menacingly down from the rafters! Lenin might be turning in his grave if saw the reality of the world of work today!
The choices made on this journey for most part is actually what Branson embodies – Think BIG!
The HRN team are all dreaming big for this year and the future and it doesn’t stop with HR Tech and The Future of Work. More importantly, we stand by our messaging from the beginning – we want our clients to have the best experience in the World.
What are we hoping from this year?
More inspiration – over the last 2 events in Amsterdam and London this has been the common denominator – its easy to say, but it’s the truth and it’s all out there on social media for those who wish to take a look.
That we have been listed as the Fastest Growing HR Event in the World – is not a self proclaimed truth and our recent London Spring Warm-up saw attendance increase 300% over the previous year! Today we find ourselves in a place where others find inspiration and as the catalyst for a rapidly growing community that shares the same visions and is seeking the same answers to the questions that challenge business and people.
It’s the Future of Work that has been and continues to be the underlying issue that makes the real impact – not just tech as enabler, but getting that real message across on what real leadership/management/transformation/execution looks like in the C21st, and alleviating all those fears of diversity in gender/generation/culture/etc. It’s about real innovation and disruption, and overshadowing all this the constant change/transformation/engineering that all businesses units and teams need to go through to survive in a world that is easily bored, is consolidated, and yet still looking for a leading edge.
While in our wider society politicians seem more out of touch with the everyday reality faced by those they govern, in our social lives we have become both more connected via networks, even as we build a virtual reality around ourselves. The economic revival we are currently experiencing is not producing jobs as before – many of those who have graduated over the past several years find themselves looking for work in a world that they haven’t been educated or trained for. In response, many of us will create think tanks, disruption zones on how to tackle this for ourselves, our children and future generations to come. Part of our goal is to extend, develop and bring to life to the conversation that was started in Davos earlier this year by some influencers from our community. This is why I loved what Costas Markides mentioned at our event – a dig about FB and other media – you can look at me on youtube etc. and take on board some of my ideas, what I look like, how I sound etc. but its nothing compared to what happens to all of us together HERE for 2 days … next time with members from over 80 countries and an influence over 40 million employees – we really do have the forum to bring about change in world.
Well we don’t want to say too much else without giving it all away – expectations rise each year driving everyone here in the HRN team to pull out all the stops … not just hitting bigger targets … but seeking to create more innovation, create more disruption and to continue to exceed expectations across the show.
We shall keep that element of surprise and romance if you like 🙂 Unlike much that happens in the everyday world that we live in – we will leave you with just enough so you can leave it to your imagination!
Happy Easter everyone & see you in Paris this October!