CALA: Conference Breakdown

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Jared Hancock
Jared Hancock and Shane Larson representing Senior Sign, California Assisted Living Association

Thank you CALA, and Sally Michael, for hosting us for a phenomenal CALA conference in Sacramento. There is a lot to unpack from a couple of days of learning and interacting with all the great senior living leaders in the great state of California. But I have to say, the general session speaker, Scott Shigeoka, the author of the best selling book Seek, left me with so much to ponder as a business leader, father and (hopefully) someone who cares deeply for those around me. 

Scott’s commitment to curiosity made me, well, curious. I haven’t read his book yet - but it is my next book in my Audible library. But here is the upshot of what I learned in our brief time together. 

1. Curious leaders retain talent. Employees who feel they are heard and their opinions matter are more committed and more engaged in finding solutions to our most vexing problems. 

2. Curiosity is earned and not deserved. We must build trust and relationships with our employees before we earn the right to be deeply curious (thank you Shane Larson for letting me assume that I had already earned the right to be curious on this trip).

3. Curiosity is contagious. The more we seek for deeper understanding, the more we want to learn more. In turn, our curiosity leads others to do the same. 

4. “You can’t hate a person up close.” When we are curious, we find those things that connect us all. He shared an experience where, as a queer man, he found common ground with a far right-wing man at a Trump rally. How? They both realized that they had both been reduced down to only one component of their life and had been treated differently because of it. Wow! 

5. Move away from the “Cancel Culture” to a “Connecting Culture.” In life, and in the microcosm of the workspace, we often organize ourselves into sub-units (business divisions, age groups, leadership levels, geographic, in-office vs. remote, etc). The truth is, if we choose to highlight those differences, we will hold on to them and our confirmation bias supports our preconceived paradigms. But, if we choose to connect and seek to understand, it becomes difficult to reduce a person to just one component of their life or work. 

6. Finally, the data proves that as we age, we actually become more curious. That three-year-old who asks “Why?” 75 times straight doesn’t disappear; it just gets suppressed by social norms and fear of being judged. I wonder if, as we age, our wisdom and life experiences tend to make us realize that we actually don’t know everything, and the finite number of years makes us want to extract as much from this beautiful existence as we possibly can. 

Well, that’s a wrap. Until next time. 

This is Jared Hancock. Senior Signing off.

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