#HRD18 blog 8 – closing keynote from Rasmus Hougaard, and closing remarks

It’s time for the final keynote from Rasmus Hougaard, who I enjoyed hearing from at a previous conference.

Thankfully this conference had taken on board feedback from previous years about late finishes on the final day. It meant that there were more people still here than in previous years when the final session started at almost 5pm.

I was frustrated that I went for a final look round the exhibition just before this to find almost all exhibitors packing up and half already gone. Surely they should only do that during the final keynote or even after?

Rasmus’ talk was on the Mind of the Leader, core leadership strategies for the 21st century.

He made the following points:

1. The heroic MBA leader is dead. Leadership is not about what you know, and more about how you behave.

2. There are global movements at large that affect how organisations operate. Organisations need to heed and act on these.

3. Leadership starts from the mind. And this begins with understanding oneself before understanding your people and then finally your organisation.

4. Mindfulness, selflessness and compassion are all needed in abundance and are now key components of leadership.

The rest of his talk focused on mindfulness. He made relevant points about individuals being easily distracted and not very attentive. Luckily, he says, the brain can be trained to overcome these things, which is the concept of neuroplasticity.

By training oneself to pay attention, we become better at paying attention. And so on. He took us through a useful mindfulness exercise to help us to do this.

I could see how this would help but it’s not new as it focuses on repetition as a means of learning, which is more or less what Kolb and other learning theory espouse. However I do recognise that it is rarely applied to oneself, and rarely to train the brain and I can see ready application for this.

To illustrate how powerful this concept is and how leaders around the world embrace it, see this picture:

Rasmus ended with this final note. That through adopting mindfulness, we not only become more focused and productive, but we become better human beings also.

Well said.

The conference then concluded with the final performance by Song Division, who had been providing musical interludes throughout the conference and building this final song based on the conference itself. This had been a nice way to bookend the conference and I enjoyed it.

And now I’m off to catch my train.

I’ve enjoyed the conference overall and this year it didn’t try to pack three days content into two thankfully.

I hope to be back next year.

Till next time…

Gary

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