Every year I look forward to attending the Great Game of Business’s annual conference. Over the past 28 years, it’s always been an opportunity to improve—to receive an education on how we can continually improve upon the lives and those of the people working inside our companies and within the communities that support us.
I chuckle when I think back to our first conference—what we called The Gathering of Games at the time—which we held in our hometown of Springfield, MO. We honestly weren’t sure how many people were going to show up. A few dozen intrepid souls did make the trip—so we decided to hold another conference the following year, moving it to St. Louis to make it easier for more people to attend.
We built on that momentum year after year—building up our community of like-hearted Great Game™ players with each conference.
While I have learned so much from the incredible lineup of speakers and presenters that have blessed the stage over the years, I’ve learned just as much—if not more—from the attendees themselves over a shared meal or a cold beer at the bar after hours. They have been my most cherished friends and teachers when it comes to how we can collectively reimagine capitalism.
Now that the pandemic is changing the world, we’ve had to change with it. Our conference that kicks off tomorrow won’t be held in a hotel in Dallas—it will take place virtually on an online platform.
When I first heard earlier this year that the Great Game team made the decision to go virtual with the event, I have to admit that I was deeply disappointed. All I could focus on was what we were losing out on—specifically those late-night beer talks. I couldn’t get past the fact that I would miss connecting face-to-face with my friends and teachers.
I also have to admit that technology isn’t always my friend. I can barely coax my iPad to show me my emails. I never would have figured that I would be attending huddles and board meetings using something called “Zoom.” I know what a camshaft is, but, until recently, I had no idea what a Zoom was.
I’m still not getting used to this “new normal” we’ve entered. I miss connecting with people—beyond virtually or wearing a mask.
But I have been totally blown away by how the Great Game conference team led by Kristi Stringer has pushed themselves to superhuman levels to do something they’ve never done before in an incredibly short period of time. They’ve put together a virtual lineup of speakers and breakout sessions that might be the strongest we’ve ever had in the history of the event. We’ve already seen record numbers of attendees participating in our pre-conference sessions (and received some of our highest reviews ever), which gives us hope that many more of you will be joining us for the main event.
Building a Global Community
One of the coolest aspects of the virtual conference might be the fact that we can now connect with people who couldn’t come to a more traditional conference because of issues like the cost and time commitment of travel. Now, we’re looking forward to hosting people from all over the world—including from far off countries like Germany, Australia, and Sri Lanka.
What excites me is the idea that all of these folks have been drawn together to create a community around the idea that there really is a better way to run a business—one that helps close the gap between the Haves and the Have-nots. In these tough times that are pulling U.S. people apart, we need to find a common cause that can bring us all together.
It’s been a heckuva year filled with all kinds of hurdles and challenges. And the future promises additional curve-balls as well. But I am truly looking forward to spending some time online with everyone in our growing community during The Great Game of Business® Conference. Yes, I’ll miss connecting with all of the attendees in person this year. But I still can’t wait to see your faces and to learn from your ideas—and to keep our conversations going even after the event ends.
This conference is our opportunity to lift up our chins and look past the day-to-day struggles and begin to imagine how things can be different—how we can make them better.
Working together we can create a better quality of life for everyone around us. That’s what The Great Game of Business is all about.