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Reflections on SMPS Build Business

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Since Watry Design specializes solely in the design of parking, we not only work for owners, but also often work for other design firms. In addition, because design build is such an effective delivery method for garages, we also often work for contractors. As such, attending the 2019 SMPS Build Business conference in Washington D.C. with 1,000 marketing and business development professionals from architecture, engineering and construction firms was a treasure trove. What was an unexpected pleasure was both the opening and the closing keynote speakers who shared provoking concepts that most individuals and organizations can benefit from.

Kim Scott opened with an introduction to Radical Candor, a management style that emphasizes kind, clear, specific and sincere communication. Sounds simple enough, right? However, when you stop and think about how we communicate every day, the majority of us would have to admit we have room to improve. Kim, a former executive with Google and a Startup CEO veteran, shared that Radical Candor stemmed from her personal goal of creating great environments where professional can do their best work.

To assist all of us in actively practicing Radical Candor, she and co-founder Jason Rosoff created a framework to guide communications. Essentially, each of us should aspire to “Care Personally” and “Challenge Directly” while not falling into patterns of “Obnoxious Aggression” or “Ruinous Empathy.” If I have peaked your interest, I hope you will check out one of her videos, such as this one on YouTube.

Kim Scott on "Radical Candor"

The closing keynote speaker, Duncan Wardle, spoke on The Theory of Creativity. Taken from obscurity, he became the Leader of Innovation for Disney. During his interactive session, he asked us where we came up with creative ideas. Not one of the audience members who volunteered an answer said “at work.” Duncan shared that true creativity happens in the subconscious and that we have to allow ourselves time to think to bring it forward. I hope you will be inspired, as I was to build back time in my schedule to be creative. 

Duncan Wardle on The Theory of Creativity

Bringing over 1,000 marketing & business development people from around the county together under one roof at this year’s SMPS Build Business certainly created an electrically charged atmosphere. This environment set the stage for thought provoking keynote presentations. Coupled with an assortment of panels and working sessions focused on thinking differently, I came away from the event not only with great contacts, but also primed to lead marketing & business development discussions during our strategic planning sessions for 2020.

About the Author

Hannah Brooks has over 25 years of experience in business development and marketing. She is actively involved with championing Sustainable Parking Best Practices, the Society for Marketing Professional Services, Design Build Institute of America and the International Parking & Mobility Institute. In addition to having penned on topics such as Branding Versus Positioning and the Value of a Formal Marketing & Business Development Plan, Hannah has received Addy awards ranging from web design to music production.

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