I’ve mentioned before that the AME staff meets regularly as an informal check-in via Zoom. We miss the watercooler talk that we enjoyed when we were in the office together, so these meetings are a great way to maintain our human connection to one another.
A core tenant of continuous improvement is respect for people. The connections we have with our coworkers are crucial to this value. Even while many of our organizations have employees working remote, it is imperative that we maintain these connections. We are fortunate to live in a time when technologies like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack and WhatsApp allow us to stay connected.
When the AME International Conference kicks off on Tuesday, I will miss seeing you all in-person. I have been attending AME conferences for years and have formed strong friendships with many regulars. For those who live on the other side of the continent — or even the other side of the globe — the AME conference is the one time per year when we all get together to share, learn and grow while enjoying the camaraderie of the tight-knit lean community.
While 2020 is different, I am excited that we live in a world where it is possible for us to connect virtually to more than 1,000 people at the conference. An online conference like the one we’ll host next week wasn’t conceivable 10-15 years ago. In fact, less than 40% of Americans had broadband internet access in 2005. If you think Zoom can be wonky in 2020, imagine what it would have looked like with dial-up internet just a few years ago!
While we’re connecting differently at the conference and in our personal and professional lives, it is of the utmost importance that we continue to connect. You cannot have “respect for people” if you do not build trust and understanding. The first step towards respect — the root action — is the simple act of making the connection. Before you can establish trust and understanding you must first find ways to engage with one another.
The virtual AME conference could not come at a better time. There has been a lot of talk about “pandemic fatigue” recently. We are desperate to connect with others, and the conference gives us an opportunity to do that while learning from other practitioners and being inspired by new solutions that we can bring to our organizations. The conference gives us the chance to connect to people, and we need these connections in order to overcome fatigue and energize our journeys.
I hope to see you next week at the AME conference. If you are attending, please connect with me through the Online Event Guide by clicking on “Attendees” in the left-hand column and then searching for my name.
As always, please stay safe and keep looking out for one another.
P.S. If you haven’t yet registered for the AME International Conference, there’s still time…but it’s running out! Go to ame.org/conference now to register for the virtual conference and join us Oct. 27-29.