San Antonio Riverwalk: Setting for the 2012 Conversation Among Masters Conference
Last week I had the pleasure of being part of the closing day interactive community adventure (read presentation) at the Conversation Among Masters conference (CAM) in San Antonio, Texas. CAM is a six year young – invitation only – conference for master level coaches.
Robert (Robbie) Richman, product manager of Zappos Insights - the part of Zappos that is dedicated to helping businesses infuse their cultures with innovation and inspiration, was our final speaker. He followed two pioneers of the coaching profession, Werner Erhard and Jim Selman. Both have distinguished reputations as corporate and personal development luminaries.
What made it both a pleasure and an adventure to spend that last day with Robbie, next generation pioneer, was his ability to both to track the CAM culture and shepherd our culture to its next level.
Robbie had been paying attention. He had been present for the whole conference, as a participant up to day three, and he noticed something we were all feeling…something was missing. What we needed was our own culture transforming ‘direct experience’ and Robbie delivered it with joy and passion and a deep sense of humanity.
As someone who does this, ie: speaking and encouraging audience participation as a way of heightening awareness and learning – working with companies and communities for the sake of culture evolution), I was as curious and attentive to the process of his engagement as to the experience and the byproduct/result.
So here is what I experienced and observed:
1. Robbie played a short video for us showing people who work at Zappos – all kinds of people…young, middle aged, old, thin, fat, short, tall…and they were all happy. Genuinely happy to work at Zappos. That’s their company culture – community, passion and caring. Our interactive experience of Zappos was itself living proof that Zappos is not an online store that deals with customer satisfaction; it is a customer satisfaction experience that delivers through its online store.
2. Robbie had us check out our culture through the medium of perceiving – in the moment. (As a meditator, this is a process I have a particular fondness for).
3. We engaged in some creative visualization followed by what I can only describe as a version of my partner, Liz Dallas’ A to B method. (Did I mention she just had an article published on her A to B method in the new book Road to Success?) I’m so glad it’s finally copyrighted! And another example of how it works, even when just using a part of it.
4. Then we massaged one another! Now that is a really transformative experience – especially at the end of a long conference where you’ve been sitting for hours and hours!!
5. Now here’s the magic: We finished with another culture check and the culture in the room had definitely transformed.
What do I mean by that?
I mean that at the end of these ‘direct experiences’ there was definitely more possibility available in that room.
There was more inspiration in that room.
There was more passion in that room.
And there was more happiness in that room!
It’s fun and enormously rewarding to help companies and communities to transform their cultures, and it’s a gift to be part of that experiment as a participant.
Thanks Robbie. Thank Zappos. And thanks to everyone at CAM who made it happen.