I recently attended a conference that could be described as no frills. The event was held in three library conference rooms. Registration included a hand-written nametag and a 1pg schedule – no fancy lanyards, conference bags or program book. When registration was completed, the tables were repurposed to become the lunch table, where trays of sandwiches from the grocery store were served on plain paper plates and beverages were cans of pop taken directly from the 12-pack carton. There were no tablecloths, theme decorations, signs or even water bottles for the speakers. It was as low-budget as they come.

And yet, the conference was a good one. Those who were there received relevant content from knowledgeable speakers, participants had an opportunity to network with others in their field and the sessions seemed to stimulate lively conversations in the halls. I would deem the event a success.

Think about this conference if you are running around like crazy today trying to get ready for the Thanksgiving feast. You don’t need the perfect place settings, exactly the right décor or the finest wine to have a wonderful event. Keep your focus on the reason you are gathering and give thanks for being together, not for the unnecessary trappings surrounding it. Uncomplicated is a good mantra to follow, not just at the holidays, but for many other aspects of life.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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