Every leader I know understands the importance of evolving. The skills that got you to where you are now won't be the ones you need for the next level. Yet when leaders are asked about what they're doing to expand their strategic leadership skills, they don't have an effective plan. 

It's so much more than keeping an eye on disengagement or connecting with your virtual team members. It also goes well beyond reading a stack of leadership books. Making your culture a competitive advantage requires you to expand as a leader.

Here are the top conferences for leaders who want to lead new growth and create a culture where employees thrive: 

1. C2 Montréal; May 27-29; Montreal, Canada

A one-of-a-kind experience that brings together unique stories of commerce and creativity, C2's speakers are risk-taking creatives, entrepreneurial icons, social game changers and world-class experts. C2 was born of a conversation between now-CEO of Cirque Daniel Lamarre and Sid Lee founder JF Bouchard, and its founding partners are Cirque du Soleil and creative agency Sid Lee. The vibe of this experience embodies an immersive learning environment and unique elements of intimacy through art, acrobatics and ambiance. 

Leaders will learn the power of creativity and find new ways to align it with business-building commerce. Join in to push your leadership beyond the "now" and into the future.

2. Responsive Conference; October 1-3; Las Vegas, Nevada

When it comes to creating an experience for attendees, bigger isn't always better. The Responsive Conference provides a unique experience for human resources (HR) and people operations professionals. You can expect 450 leaders gathering at Zappos' headquarters, the home of a culture centered on "delivering happiness."

The theme of this year's leadership conference is longevity. Experts will look beyond today to predict how our organizations will look in 50 years. The content includes technology, culture and humanity. 

3. OPTIMA2020; October 14-16; Boston, Massachusetts

Most conferences are either about business or people strategy. OPTIMA2020 is about the integration of your business strategy and people strategy. I had a chance to speak at the conference in 2019 and shared my research from Inc. 5000-level founders and CEOs about going beyond performance management.

This year's agenda contains a mixture of new strategies and tactics that allow you to discover actionable intelligence that can be applied to business growth. Predictive Index, a company that uses data to solve business problems through the lens of understanding individuals, is the conference's host. Leaders can expect to learn how to hire with precision and lead individuals to higher levels of performance. 

4. The Cult Gathering; Feb 19-21; Banff, Canada

Only extraordinary leaders have positioned their brands to grow a cult-like following. Those leaders think differently. The Cult Gathering is a celebration honoring leaders from brands like Coca-Cola, Spotify, ESPN and more who've earned cult followings. By attending, you'll learn from dynamic disruptors who take the stage to share secret insights on creating community and connecting with consumers in ways that don't just get them to buy, but to also buy in.

The unique edge of this gathering of leaders from top brands is providing these leaders with a stage to offer new approaches for developing a cult following for your own brand. I was honored to deliver a keynote speech at this conference two years ago, and it remains one of my favorite events. 

5. The Culture Summit; July 14-16; San Francisco, California

When you develop modern leadership skills and the power to craft a strong culture, you have what it takes to create an organization that grows with ease and navigates challenging conditions. The Culture Summit provides experiences to develop your skills in "human-centered leadership." Small, medium and large company leaders will be attending, as well as corporate giants like Amazon and Facebook.

Here, you'll develop powerful tools as a leader, absorb new learnings to guide your culture and find a community to support you on your journey. Discover the power of human-centered leadership so you can transform your team. 

Leading growth in today's competitive markets is more about selecting, leading and developing the right people. Each of these conferences offers unique perspectives that allow you to forge your path to next-level leadership.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this column misstated the origin of C2 and its partners. The idea came from a conversation between now-CEO of Cirque Daniel Lamarre and Sid Lee Founder JF Bouchard. Its founding partners are Cirque du Soleil and creative agency Sid Lee.

Published on: Jan 30, 2020
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.