Follow-up: What I learned at the Conference of strategic partnership with the business environment, October 22, 2009, J.W. Marriott, Bucharest?

On October 22, 2009, I took part at the Conference of strategic partnership with the business environment, held at J.W. Marriott, Bucharest. You can view the official page of the conference, in Romanian. Below you’ll find clips, pictures and personal impressions of the event.


These are some clips I’ve made at the event, and at the end of this blog post, you’ll also see some pictures. Most of the clips are in English, some of them are in Romanian:
a. (in Romanian) Csaba GERGELY – official opening;
b. (in English) Paul EVANS – Managing the Downturn with the Upturn in Mind – Working through the Dualities of Talent Management, part 1;
c. (in English) Paul EVANS – Managing the Downturn with the Upturn in Mind – Working through the Dualities of Talent Management, part 2;
d. (in Romanian) Daniel ENESCU – Presenting the results of the strategic partnership survey 2009;
e. (in English) Csaba GERGELY, Daniel ENESCU, Paul EVANS, Gauthier van WEDDINGEN, Cornelia COMAN, Wargha ENAYATI – HR Club – Panel session with general managers part I;
f. (both in English and Romanian) Csaba GERGELY, Daniel ENESCU, Gauthier van WEDDINGEN, Cornelia COMAN, Wargha ENAYATI – HR Club – Panel session with general managers part II;
g. (in English) Gyorgy BOGEL – Rewriting the invisible contract – HR in the 21st Century;
h. (in English) Harry MEINTASSIS – Towards the second wave of transformation – Making Great Resilient Leaders;
i. (in English) William PHILLIPS – Managing tomorrow’s people. The future of work;
Here are some personal notes I made at the event.

Paul EVANS – Managing the Downturn with the Upturn in Mind – Working through the Dualities of Talent Management

1. Recommended reading: Jim COLLINS – “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t“;
2. What to do when things get complex?
a. Simplify, simplify, simplify;
b. Take things back to basic fundamental principles (something like common sense);
So, rather than simplify, you can develop simple procedures that help you get through;
3. Never tell people what to do;
4. Expertise traps you – you have a tendency to tell people what to do;
5. Job rotation is good, people learn how to start things off;
6. Move people out of their comfort zone, but avoid job rotation;
7. Nothing remains challenging forever;
8. Build a change matrix development within the job;
9. Compare:
– Being a business partner gets you promoted; (so this is a great optional thing to have);
– Not knowing the HR basics gets you fired; (so this is a mere filter);
10. Superior performance always comes from being different;
11. You should invent locally and act globally (spread ideas across);
12. In Romania there’s a lot of creativity in Romanian managers;
13. Harnessing conflicts is the key to creativity.

Daniel ENESCU – Romanian Human Resources Development Strategy

1. We used the snowball method – after you fill in the data, can you recommend us to other persons?
2. In the future, both targeting results and personal credibility will be more important.

Dr. Gyorgy BOGEL – Rewriting the invisible contract – HR in the 21st Century

Bad things about people at 20s-30s years of age:
1. They are dumber than their parents;
2. They are screenagers – committed to TVs and PCs;
3. No shame, no respect for privacy;
4. They steal;
5. Aggressive & violent? Sure;
6. No work ethics;
7. Narcissistic;
8. They want everything & they want it now;

Positive things about people at 20s-30s years of age:
1. Freedom in everything;
2. Love to customize & personalize;
3. Critical, scrutinize everything, demand more;
4. Search for corporate integrity and openness;
5. They want entertainment and play in work environment;
6. They like to collaborate;
7. Look for speed;
8. Innovative, try new gadgets;

Harry MEINTASSIS – Towards the second wave of transformation – Making Great Resilient Leaders

There’s a big gap on what the Romanian leaders want to be and the position they have in reality.

Dr. Gyorgy BOGEL – CEO’s strategic partner or Outsourced Service Provider?

1. MBO means “Management By Objectives”;
2. The really important things should be kept within a company, rather than outsourced;
3. Outsourcing as a process is very important to Romania (you are competitive);
4. The number of outsourcing activities is growing;
5. Outsourcing is a must;
6. Statistically, it is very risky to be a middle manager, you should move very fast to the top;
7. A career as an expert may be safer than one as a manager;

What did I discover at the conference?

1. I like workshops; Uuu, workshops are great; Lots of interactivity (unlike a seminar, which can also have the format of a conference addressed to a smaller audience), lots of things to learn and, boy-oh-boy, things to practice;
2. I like case studies, things to see from a personal perspective – “I’ve done this and that, I’ve got, as a result, that and that”;

About the conferences

1. The conference had good involvement of the audience;
2. The content was fine, lots of things to learn;

About panel discussions

1. Unfortunately, it’s like the Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder of events – I couldn’t pay attention to anything; Hard to follow, lots of switching; The discussions involved lots of knowledge, there was no main theme, the audience was not involved;
2. What I would love in a panel discussion?
a. A case study from each speaker – “I’ve done this, and got these results”; These are things to learn and build upon;
b. A lot of questions from the audience;
c. A list of best practices – you should do this, while you should also avoid doing that;

About the workshops

1. I would prefer a workshop not to have any presentation, but to be more similar to a game – make it as business professional as you like it, but don’t get into “I say this, you all should listen to me, don’t do anything while I speak”;
2. I would prefer team work & collaboration in a workshop;
3. Great to have – practical things to learn;
4. I’d also like to see some case studies;

What did I like about the event organization?

+ There were some ping pong small balls given to participants, quite funny;
+ Each speaker received a present;
+ The food was great;
+ HR Club did some CSR activities (also read this blog post): Some students at HR Club’s summer school took part to the event for free;
+ There were a lot of organizing personnel people at the reception desk;
+ The speakers received little to no stress from the organizers – if you wish to say this, you free to say it; If you’re a bit late, it’s fine;
+ The agenda was fine;
+ Lots of time scheduled for networking; (it’s one of the main reasons people come to conferences)
+ (CSR? Just being nice?) One speaker received a surprise birthday cake;
+ The light color itself was nice to the eyes;
+ The location was fine;
+ Although banners were present, there were not that much obtrusive;
+ There were plenty of drinks, even at the tables;
+ Although there were lots of participants, the place was not too crowded;
+ I could hear well;
+ The speakers came from different sources;
+ Having panels prior to the workshops was great; I was able to make a more informed decision;
+ (I should know, given the time at which I put this follow up public) The follow-up of the event was great – there was a form feed-back, I got a list with all the participants, there were some pictures, and, finally, all the presentations were available in PDF format; Great follow-up!

What would I do better?

– For the future events, the agenda and time schedule may a bit more enforced;
– A lot of movement on the curtains;
– At some times the light came from different sources, it was tiring for the eyes;
– Some presentations had interruptions, a rehearsal of the presentation would have been better;
– The profile of the participants was not that different from that of the previous events; A lot of the same people came; (which is good, considering that they liked the event, but I would prefer to see new faces)
– Although I understand the need for such a thing, the fact that in the morning one had to wait outside, before all was prepared, was not that great;
– Out of the three workshops presented, I wasn’t really attracted to any;
– It would have been better if the titles of the workshops were presented prior than during the workshops themselves;
– For me personally, I would have loved to know prior to the event what did these words mean: plenary session, panel session;
– The title of the conference:
“Conference of strategic partnership with the business environment”
a. Has these faults – hard to understand and not really that exciting and intriguing;
b. Is missing something; In Mathematics you can’t say “5%”, you have to say “5% out of something”; Likewise, your title shouldn’t be “partnership with the business environment”, but should rather be “partnership of something with the business environment”;
– I find it a bit funny: “Annual partners of HR Club 2009”; I think that if they’re annual, the year 2009 is not needed; Also, are they annual partners or for 2009 only?

Some hints for the future

a. I (see above) prefer a workshop to any other type of event; Put workshops, rather than other types of meetings;
b. I would have loved to see a live web cast with the conference; (it can be paid, not necessarily free)
c. There was a lot of effort (and when I say “a lot”, I mean “a lot”) for a one-day event; One thought to consider – having an event like this for more days, different timeframes, different locations? I personally prefer a series of less-than-perfect events to a one-time perfect event.


This is yet another best-management-I’ve-ever-seen conference organized (how can this be any different?) by HR Club. Congratulations!


Finally, some photos I made that day:

P.S.: Also see the Yahoo! Group on which I present similar events: Conferinte recomandate To join, email and reply to the confirmation email.

You will find videos made by me on my YouTube channel, and photos on my Picasa Web Albums accounts.

I am a Freelancer. My expertise is in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) / UX (user experience) / WordPress. Co-founder of (series of events on SEO & PPC) and (Book on branding for MDs). On a personal level, I like self-development - events, sports, healthy living, volunteering, reading. I live in London, and lots of things live in me.


  • Bulent

    27 December 2009 - 22:35

    Congratulations for yet another great conference report, Olivian!

  • Olivian BREDA

    27 December 2009 - 22:39

    Thanks a lot, Bulent!

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