Connecting with the OCM Community

Published by Jim Turko

I recently had the opportunity to participate in my first major organizational change management (OCM) conference since the pandemic started – the 2024 San Diego Change Conference. After four years of video conferences and online meetings, I had many questions about this large in-person event. Will people still shake hands or fist-bump? If they do shake hands, will it be followed-up by a generous dousing of hand sanitizer? Is it OK to hug a colleague you haven’t seen in a while? How will people react to buffet dining? Would people actively participate in networking events indoors, or would they gravitate toward open spaces?

As it turns out, it was a little bit of everything! The nice thing about a conference filled with change professionals is that we all gave each other enough space to make an in-person conference work within our own comfort zones. Any anxiety I had was gone within 15 minutes, allowing me to take in the rest of the conference with a sense of calm. The first night kicked off with a round of Changearitas and meeting up with old friends. Day two was filled with many unique perspectives on managing change. As a leading topic du jour, AI received a lot of attention and the AI presentations helped frame some of the changes we will handle in the next few years. The session that provided the newest learning for me, and my favorite from the conference, was based on the topic of Neurodiversity.  The presenters of that topic, who were both neurodiverse themselves, brought warmth and humanity to a topic that does not get as much attention as it deserves.

All-in-all, my first in person event in four years was a great success. I appreciate that Highlands gives me the opportunity to attend conferences to continue my growth as a change professional. For me, the real value of these conferences comes from the relationships that I make and continue to foster over the years.