12 Jul Perfection
It’s been over a month since I last wrote this blog. My usual schedule is about every two weeks, so I’m clearly off that. In my defense, there has been a lot going on since I last wrote – UTC’s tremendous annual Telecom & Technology (T&T) conference, appearing before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as part of its annual reliability technical conference, taking a short vacation, preparing for our Board of Director’s annual visit to D.C. for strategic planning and a day of advocacy, and the usual juggling of personal and professional commitments–indeed, my girls’ summer swim has kept my husband and me quite occupied on Saturday mornings and Monday nights for the last several weeks.
For me, the summer months also focus my attention on organization – whether trying to find time to clean out my emails or get to projects at work or at home that I don’t prioritize during the school year. But with that comes a dangerous tendency I have – perfectionism. When I get to organizing and cleaning and strategizing, sometimes I get a bit obsessive and won’t stop until a project is perfectly complete. As we all know, however, perfection is an illusion and projects that are completed one day will quickly be “uncompleted,” especially if you have a seven-year-old in the house. So, is it even worth the effort?
I find this question fascinating and challenging at the same time. The short answer is, of course, we must strive for perfection while at the same time recognizing it is impossible to achieve. This requires us (i.e., me!) to be satisfied with doing very, very well, but knowing there will be minor things to improve the next time, assuming there is a next time. Of course, we have some things we do regularly and other things that are one-off. Let’s consider our annual T&T conference, for one. Since we do it , well, annually, we have a seemingly endless cycle of trying to perfect the meeting. That is not to say it is yet near perfect, but we have focused in recent years on improving the format of the meeting, expanding the content, enhancing the look and feel of the meeting, and overall in creating a better attendee experience. From my admittedly biased perspective, I think the conference this year was very good.
In assessing what ‘very good’ means for our conference, we have the following goals given our role as a not-for-profit trade association: provide a quality education and training program to aid and inform utility members in their everyday work; provide high-level strategic takeaways regarding our industry and the policy challenges facing it; provide a platform for networking between utilities as well as equipment vendors and consultants; consider and vote on overarching policy positions; vote in our new Board members and officers; and provide opportunities to get ethics and other specialized training for engineers where possible and appropriate. We also want to encourage lasting relationships among utilities so that collaboration will occur between meetings.
We solicit feedback from attendees every year. We take that feedback to heart as we seek to perfect our conference. One issue we will continue to improve upon is communication before and during the conference. Just like any technology, our conference app must be supplemented by other forms of communication. Otherwise, we will strive to keep the parts of the conference that work and be open to changing the parts that don’t.
The bottom line is, I hope you come to Providence, RI, in 2020, to see how our efforts to achieve perfection are paying off. Until we meet again…