ConfBOK Strategy: How to get to a conference
Wondering how to get your attendance to a conference paid for? here are two strategies:
1) Check if it comes out of your boss’s training budget. If so you could be on a winner.
I’m sure there are some organisations that delight in their staff being away on courses and who burn their way through the annual training budget within six months because they are devoted to the development of their company’s most important asset.
More often there is money left in the bucket each year either because staff were too busy to be trained or because the boss was thinking about more important things. This does not go down well with balanced scorecard reporting or HR-related audits. As a responsible employee you should alert your boss to that risk. You can offer a solution: a conference trip burns those dollars much quicker than a local course, thus minimising the lost productivity while maximising the ...er… risk reduction.
2) Exercise the Real IT Value Chain. To explain this I need to share a quote with you from my book Introduction to Real ITSM (you can learn more about this book at my workshop on Making ITSM Real at the upcoming conference)
Vendors generally manage IT departments well, and little intervention is required from IT.
The greatest difficulties arise when staff squabble over who is to be a vendor’s contact, since the role appeals to those who like desktop toys, or quality golf shirts or wind-cheaters, and those who like to travel. Often a rotating roster can be established, or if this proves too cumbersome then senior management should simply usurp the roles.
In order to optimise being managed by vendors, it is worth seeking to be a reference site. Being a reference site will bring benefits:
Love and attention. This requires far more vendor resource than could ever be sustained in more than a few clients, so be one of them.
Glory. Vendors will make you look a hero, in glossy brochures, advertisements, articles and best of all conference presentations. They will put your CIO’s face on full page ads in magazines where their peers will see and then give them a poster-size framed version of the ad for their office wall.
Conferences. Research on the number of reference sites whose CIO went to the vendor’s world conference at the vendor’s expense as a speaker or regularly appeared on speaking tours to warm sunny countries would yield interesting results.
This works particularly well with a CIO about two years from retirement: apply love and glory, and then once they retire employ them on contract to be an overseas superstar keynote speaker at conferences in exotic places.
Celebration. In the face of defeat, declare victory. This was an old British military tactic when faced with unshakeable guerrilla insurgence: walk away and hold a victory parade. No need to admit the half-million-dollar project is a failure when you can bluff your way out of it with vocal assistance from the vendor. Tell everyone how successful it was for long enough and even your own staff might start to believe it, especially if they start getting invited to conferences in exotic places.
The Real IT value chain:
So check out the list of exhibitors and get to work.