Recently, I had the opportunity to virtually attend Impact 99, an HR Summit held in Toronto. I’ve been to conferences before where I have been inspired afterwards, but this one was different. It really challenged the status quo and broke down the mental models. The speakers were engaging, the stories were powerful, the ideas were fresh, and the messages resonated and became etched in my mind instantly. I debriefed my colleagues afterwards and they noticed that I had so much energy and enthusiasm when I described my experience – the conference had clearly reignited my spark. I immediately started looking for ways I could make improvements in my day-to-day work by challenging ingrained practices and discovering creative ways to reinvent my workplace and make an impact.

I know that not all workplaces are the same and that there isn’t a cookie-cutter approach that leads to workplace reinvention and modernization, but Impact 99 really opened my mind to the possibilities that can unfold by exploring new ways of doing things.

Jody Thompson, creator of the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE), was the first speaker of the day. ROWE is a management strategy where employees are evaluated on performance, not physical presence. Workplaces that practice ROWE focus on results and only results – increasing the organization’s performance while cultivating the right environment for employees to manage all the demands in their lives – including work. It’s about owning our work, achieving expectations and delivering measureable results, while at the same time having the flexibility to choose where, when and how the work gets done.

Next was a Google+ panel of International HR Trailblazers: Julie Clow, author of  “The Work Revolution”, Ger Hartnett, CTO of Goshido, and Josh Allan Dykstra , author of “Igniting the Invisible Tribe.”  Each of them shared fascinating messages, concepts and viewpoints – one of my favourite recommends that managers encourage employees to articulate what gives them energy at work and empower them to determine where they can personally make the largest impact based on their strengths. When employees are clear about their work and expectations, they feel confident in their abilities, which has a direct influence on their performance.

The last keynote speaker was Dan Pontefract, author of “Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization.”  A “flat army” is an organization that works together to achieve a business result – a corporate commonality. The objective is to increase overall employee engagement by bridging the gap between collaboration, empowerment and participation combined with new ways of leading, learning and sharing. It comes down to instilling reciprocal trust between employees regardless of title, and taking the organizational values off the wall and putting them into practice. The success stories of organizations that successfully implemented the principles were astounding.

At the end of Dan’s session, he challenged all of us to have the gumption to lead change in our organizations. To set the tone and challenge the norm. To be a positive disruptor and to effect change. He encouraged us to step up and make our organizations the best they can be and to impose workplace reinvention.

I’m up for the challenge. Who’s with me?

Interested in learning more? Check out the storify of tweets, tips and photos from Impact 99.

Jodi LeBlanc
Jodi LeBlanc is a Values and Ethics Advisor with Veterans Affairs Canada in Prince Edward Island. She is a collaborator/innovator for numerous public service initiatives and national networks and is a member of CGE’s editorial advisory board. You can connect with her via @jodilynne3 or