I loved this past weekend. Close to 80 of the former Arthur Andersen HR and Recruiting Community (former employees of the firm) returned to the Q-Center (Arthur Andersen’s former Worldwide Training Center) in St. Charles IL. Our theme for this year’s conference was "Circle of Friendship."
I am not sure I know of another organization on earth, where former colleagues, who haven’t worked together in 6 years,would spend their own money and their own time (on a weekend) to fly from all over the United States simply to reconnect … especially if the organization they had worked for no longer even existed! Arthur Andersen received a lot of bad press, as it imploded, as a result of the corruption within Enron. But the real story of Arthur Andersen was the people who worked there. In 2002, the professionals of Arthur Andersen were sent scrambling to establish the next season of their career. The people of Arthur Andersen were more than business colleagues. They were friends. And I was reminded of that this weekend. Most corporations, many professional associations and even some church staffs would probably give anything to have such an authentic culture of connected relationships. Such a circle of genuine friendship. And they would be well served to make internal relationships one of the highest priorities in their business strategy.
This weekend reminded me that the most important part of our work is relationships. When people care about each other … anything is possible. As I was leaving yesterday, I was thinking back to the testimonial that Tim Sanders (author of Love: The Killer App and The Likeability Factor ) had provided me for my book, Silent Alarm. He simply finished his wonderful testimonial with this sentence … "You’ll find that the world is as calm as you are connected!"
This past weekend featured some great networking time and programming that would match or surpass most any professional association’s national conference. Over the next couple weeks, I will share with you some things that I learned throughout the weekend.