Leadership education top notch at Athletic Business Conference

While it's common for trade shows to offer some educational seminars as added value for attendees, the Athletic Business Conference does it with a twist – offering educational seminars as the prime attraction at a solid trade show. SNEWS offers some notes from excellent seminars it attended from the leadership track at ABC.

While it's not uncommon for trade shows these days to offer a slate of educational seminars as added value for those attending, the Athletic Business Conference shakes it up a bit. It offers an amazing slate of educational seminars as the prime attraction to a gathering where the trade show, while solid, certainly plays second fiddle.

The "ABC" (www.athleticbusinessconference.com), that was held Dec. 1-3, 2011 in Orlando, Fla., packed in the seminars and education both morning and afternoon on all three days, with pre-conference sessions and speakers, all in 11 tracks. SNEWS® brings you highlights from seminars in the leadership track.

Thanks to the event’s partnership with three other organizations: the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA, www.icaa.cc), which set up its conference with ABC in 2003; the Medical Fitness Association (MFA, www.medicalfitness.org), which co-located with ABC in 2004; and the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS, www.nays.org), which joined with ABC in 2007, the offering of seminars resembles a veritable buffet of learning.

Each of these groups runs its own education track, focusing on their members' needs. ABC puts on the remaining tracks focusing on facility design and construction; aquatic programming and management; programming, marketing and customer service; military fitness and sports; leadership, people management and personal development; new managers/emerging leaders; college and university; facility operators/risk management; and fitness center management.

All sessions, no matter which track, are open to all attendees and all offer continuing education credits from most of the major organizations.

SNEWS® decided we’d focus on seminars in the leadership track and boy were we impressed. These were as good, if not better, than most seminars we’ve had the pleasure to attend over the last decade. Even if your market interest is not in the recreation or facility management arena, the seminars are worth the price of registration and a plane ticket. Mark your calendars for ABC 2012 in New Orleans, Nov. 28 to Dec. 1.

What follows are very select highlights of from two of those seminars we attended, gleaned from our SNEWS reporter notebooks:

Encouraging Staff Development

Ruby Newell-Legner – www.7starservice.com

Perhaps one of the most important points, stressed repeatedly, is that performance appraisals are not a substitute for day-to-day interaction. It's essential that managers and supervisors check in with their employees daily, offering praise where appropriate, training as needed, guidance as warranted and immediate attention to behaviors that are not in the best interests of the employee, employer or team.

Studies reveal that supervisors and managers who are rated as doing a superior job of accurate appraisals have these factors in common:

  • They know trust is an important element in making the appraisal system work.
  • They listen, making the appraisal a two-way street of information exchange, not a lecture.
  • They share control of the appraisal, asking subordinates neutral, open-ended questions that encourage them to talk.
  • They focus on specific examples of behavior, both good and bad.
  • They try to get what might be perceived as negative information to emerge naturally from the dialogue, rather than forcing it on an employee like an accusation.
  • They address performance problems without ever making the confrontation a personal issue.
  • They ensure that virtually nothing that comes to the table during a performance review is news to either party.

Want to know how well your employees are feeling about engaging and feeling supported at work? Give them this free survey, available by clicking here.

High-Performance Balance: Effectively Balancing Work, Home and Community

Michael Samuelson -- http://mhsamuelson.me/

According to Samuelson, "Wisdom is the sum of the reflective and reflexive understandings that settle deep in one’s soul after a long journey — a life adventure peppered with laughter, tears, fear, foolishness, joy, doubt, amazement and wonder. Pay attention to those who have traveled before you. Ask questions and listen with your whole being. Like echoes in a canyon, the lessons will continue whispering their meaning."

He adds: "Wellness is located at the intersection of Contentment and Aspiration. To live there, you must first choose to move out of the Village of Someday."

Other thoughts from Samuelson has he challenges us all to be a success at both business and home, not just at work:

  • Without a personal mission statement, you’re traveling this life road without a roadmap. Write one, today.
  • Review your business mission statement and if it is not in harmony — supports and advances — your personal mission statement pay particularly close attention to how you are living your life. You should be operating under a cautionary yellow flag. If you can’t see it, open your eyes and drop the arrogance. Beware of assimilation.
  • If you buy into the notion that the six dimensions of wellbeing (physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, social and economic) are important, conduct an internal assessment of how you are currently nurturing each individual sector to strengthen the whole you.
  • If you were to die now, today, this minute, how would you rate your life with respect to achievements and failures?
  • If you were given another 10 years, what would you do with those years?
  • Take a look at your list of goals, both short term and long term. Are the goals yours, or are you someone’s proxy?

--Michael Hodgson