Last week Marcel and I attended Stretch conference in Budapest. The conference features great leaders from various fields, with a focus on leadership and management.

How we ended up coming to this conference

Attending the conference for the second time in a row (last year’s visit was also my first encounter with my teammate Jon) I suggested to Marcel that he should come along, too! He was eager to join, and we were finally able to meet in person for the first time, after months of working closely together.

Hanno is a team of only 6 people, so you might wonder why we’re all trying to attend a leadership and management conference? Well, I am glad you asked.

At Hanno we work really hard on personal improvement and have spent a huge amount of time and focus this year on growing, personally as well as professionally. What has that meant for me personally, so far? Developing a bunch of new technical skills, travelling to Asia–and accidentally travelling around the globe, starting to do sports again, doing some charity work, and collaborating with some really hot startups in the Bay Area.

So I thought this could be a great frame for a one year period: take some time to listen to some great speakers, round out a fantastic year, and get some inspiration for how to stretch myself even further next year.

Our favourite presentations

There were plenty of great talks but since it’s impossible to mention them all, here’s a summary of our favourites.

David Allen https://twitter.com/gtdguy

Those that have read the book “Getting Things Done” would recognise what David spoke about, but his presentation was more than just a reminder of some of the most useful productivity hacks. His appearance on stage, the way he spoke, and how he interacted with people was a great example of a perfectly structured and executed performance.

In a nutshell: Your brain is for thinking, not to store ideas.

Alex Cottin https://twitter.com/acottin17

Alex told his incredible story of building and running his humanitarian organisation. It was more like an inspirational talk which gave you the feeling that you can achieve so many things in life if you are working hard and things working out right. His organisation, Action Against Hunger is working hard to end world hunger.

David Marquet https://twitter.com/ldavidmarquet

One of the best presenters, and the most interesting topics, David told us the story of how he lead the crew of a nuclear submarine, which when he started was known to be the of its fleet.

His route to success was to give authority and intend instead of instructions and commands–something which naturally delivers more responsibility, and encourages people to take more ownership.

In a nutshell: Give intent, not instructions

Peter Heslin

Peter gave an excellent presentation about the differences between a fixed and a growth mindset people. He didn’t just left us hanging with this thought, but also prepared a few hints on how to turn people with a fixed mindset into growth and how to push them out of their comfort zone to be more flexible and take bumps easier.

In a nutshell: How to convert a fixed mindset (I can’t do this) into a growth mindset (I can learn this)

Zoe Romano https://twitter.com/zoeromano

The perfect conclusion to the event was a presentation by extreme runner Zoe Romano, who talked about her achievement of running the 2000 miles of the Tour de France in 72 days This is a world record and nobody has ever run such a long distance.

The interesting thing was that she didn’t have any particular secret: she even gave up at several points, when suddenly some unexpected external circumstances pulled her back on track. Surprisingly, she told us that the hardest parts of her journey were the easy ones, when she was just running on a flat surface

In a nutshell: With willpower (and a bit of luck) you can overcome any obstacle.

2015

For me, this conference is becoming almost like a year closing event: early-December is the perfect time to look back and see how much you managed to stretch yourself over the year. The inspirational and thoughtful talks help you to fuel yourself for the upcoming year, and hopefully grow even stronger and better! I’d highly recommend it, and if you come along next year, be sure to say hello to me!