ASTD’s annual event asserts itself as the largest conference in the training and development field, providing the most choices for professional development and boasting 300 top-rated educational sessions. This year’s conference and exhibition was held in Washington D.C., around the central hub for US Government. The event took place close by some of the city’s most impressive tourist attractions, which created a buzz of excitement amongst delegates. The conference attracted a diverse crowd that was eager to learn, gain insight, and make connections, with more than 9,000 professionals from all levels in the training and development industry travelling to D.C. for the renowned event.
The line-up included three esteemed key note speakers
. Firstly, Arianna Huffington who is Chair, President and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group; secondly, General Stan McChrystal, former Commander of U.S. and International Forces in Afghanistan and Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs; and thirdly, Kevin Carroll, founder of Kevin Carroll Katalyst/LLC and bestselling author. In addition, the numerous educational sessions offered throughout the duration of the conference covered nine different content tracks, including career development, human capital, and learning technologies, which meant that there was something for everyone.
The accompanying Expo hosted more than 380 training and development vendors, including Synermetric. We used this opportunity to connect with valued partners and clients who were attending the conference and also exchanged ideas with a range of professionals from across the globe over the three days.
The Key Note speeches this year were inspirational. Arianna Huffington gave an engaging and powerful presentation on the third metric that can benefit your bottom line. Her discussion focused on the missing element of success that seems to come at the bottom of most people’s priority list, after Money and Power – Well-being. The four pillars of well-being – well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving – were brought to life with real life examples from Arianna’s working and personal life, as well as research that is now reinforcing the importance of well-being for successful people and thriving organisations. Using these, she illustrated how implementing slight changes to the way we live and work can result in significant enhancement of our own performance and success, as well as that of the organisation as a whole.
General Stan McChrystal discussed lessons on leadership from his perspectives as a warrior, statesman and scholar. With applied examples of leadership at its best and worst, he discussed key leadership principles such as transparency and inclusion, leveraging the power of teams through shared ownership, evolutionary change versus revolutionary change, relentless mission focus, and sharing clear vision with everyone who must execute it.
Kevin Carroll discussed how businesses can unleash growth through creativity and innovation. He explained how play is relevant in today’s organisations and how we need to continue to tap into this for our future success.
The array of thought-provoking educational sessions throughout the conference, included the fascinating topic of neuroscience applied to coaching – in what way understanding how the brain works can improve the success of coaching and subsequent behaviour change, as well as discussions on strengths-based performance management, habit change, innovative leadership development, career development, engagement, and training to name a few.
revealed an exciting development on the penultimate day – after 71 years as ASTD they have decided to rebrand and change their name to ATD (Association of Talent Development). The change recognises the dynamic growth and influence the broader training and development profession has today and will have in the future. So overall, a great few days in Washington D.C. attending conference sessions, making connections and getting involved in the learning and innovations of the talent, training and development world.