After the Big Show is over: How to make sure your brand new ideas get delivered

On Wednesday this week, I had the good fortune to attend the excellent Learning & Development Show run by the CIPD. Every year, this show is flooded with like-minded HR and L&D professionals. We are a pretty positive lot – and every year we return to our workplaces full of hope and new ideas.

Once the Big Show is over though, the equally Big Question has to be:


“What happens next?”

As somebody who writes about collaborative working and learning a LOT, for example, I’m constantly inspired by the positive impact on innovation, engagement and productivity that better collaboration brings within any organisation. But I’m also acutely aware that not everyone feels as passionately as I do.

To make real change happen in a business, therefore, we must find a way to take the cynics with us. So I’m indebted for this blog to a tweet from Paul Duxbury, a learning and development professional at the show who wrote what for me was the tweet of the conference:-

#cipdldshow whatever you encounter at the Show ask yourself “what would the most cynical member of the Board say about this?” #grounded

This is absolutely spot on – a wonderful question for everyone to test themselves against. The best innovations and the biggest differences we can achieve come through staying grounded.

“Grounded” doesn’t mean becoming cynical, sceptical or inert yourself – quite the opposite. Instead it simply means putting yourself in the shoes of the person who is most likely to oppose your initiative.

Try first to collaborate with them and to at least understand their cynicism, even if you don’t agree with it. This is the key step to modify and develop all those ideas and good intentions you bring back with you from any seminar or conference.

Even if you feel you can only go part of the way to meeting your sternest critic’s concerns, it is essential that you try. And, in the process, it also means you will be going most of the way to meeting the concerns of most of the vast majority of those whose support you need to make change happen.

So I’d love to know – when you get back from this or indeed ANY seminar, show or conference, what tactics would YOU recommend to others to make sure your new initiatives and ideas get delivered?

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Merriborn Media is a business dedicated to developing clever content, engaged online communities and effective collaborative working and learning for clients. Both Merriborn Media and its founder Trevor Merriden were ranked in the Top 3 of social learning evangelists for 2016 in a recent major study.

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