Early-adopters, ground-breakers, risk-takers - call them what you will, bu most workplace leaders and innovators I know cannot remember the last time they themselves had any substantial professional development opportunities.
Their ongoing issue is that they are constantly developing the skills and knowledge of others. Typically local events and conferences, and workplace learning strategies are designed for the bulk of employees interests and needs. It is the so called 'early-adopters' who run the sessions and inspire the attendees. They also mentor and provide constant informal support within their units and Faculties.
But read my lips!!! - leaders and innovators require exposure to new skills, ideas and technologies too, and they shouldn't be left to outlay personal funds and time to meet this need.
Unless this happens people like Mike burn out and find a space where motivational interaction and learning occurs. The success of in-house support etc depends on keeping leaders and skilled employees happy and motivated. They need to be actively encouraged to engage online and they need to be supported to identify and attend at least one inspirational event each year. The trickle-down benefits of flying a person to an international event are significant.
Yes we are FAR better off now with online connections and events, but there’s nothing quite like actually physically mixing with and conversing with like minded innovators.
Mike captures the loss beautifully when he says "It’s the feeling that I’m missing out on the excitement, the creative energy, the showmanship, the passion and the fun – missing out on the incredible aire of enthusiastic jubilation that makes for an incredible collaborative learning environment."