productivity

Group of Diverse Multiethnic People in a MeetingLast week I commented on the power of being clear about why you are convening a meeting (“What’s This Meeting For, Anyway?”). Now it’s time to think about who should be invited to the meeting how to anticipate the value that each Participant will bring to the conversation, and the challenges they represent.

There are three basic questions to think through about the Participants in any meeting:

  1. Who do you want or need to be in the meeting? Who are the stakeholders who will be affected by the meeting’s outcome? Who has information, insight, or experience that is relevant and might affect the decisions or other meeting outcomes?
  2. Who are the participants as individual human beings? That is, what are their individual values, perspectives, talents, and experiences? What are their personal needs and objectives?
  3. What are the participants’ organizational roles? What are their formal responsibilities? How are they measured and rewarded for their work? What kinds of personal and organizational pressures might they be feeling? I am not suggesting that you need to spend endless hours preparing for every meeting; but I do want you to give these kinds of questions explicit attention as often as you can before you walk into that meeting room and launch the conversation.

[click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

ManagersThere are something like 11 million corporate meetings held every day in the United States alone. Yet most of us would rather be somewhere else.

But if your meetings are well-planned they can be highly productive, fun to be part of, and even personally satisfying.

The first step in creating a memorable meeting is to be very clear about why you are calling the meeting. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

You Make It, You Own It

March 16, 2015

English_Bay_Vancouver_BCLast week I participated in IFMA’s Facility Fusion 2015 Canada conference in Vancouver. I enjoyed seeing many old friends and making new ones. But more importantly I enjoyed having my brain cells stimulated by so many interesting stories of new workplace designs and workforce programs.

If there was one underlying idea that linked many of those stories together for me, it was the power of choice. Almost every story we heard about workplace innovation mentioned increased variety within the workplace, and/or between alternative workplaces. And more variety clearly means more choice for the people using those workplaces. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

conversationsEven though most of us know intuitively what a good conversation feels like and how it unfolds, the vast majority of conversations at work are okay at best, and the rest of them range between boring, inconsequential, depressing, and demeaning.

In spite of what most of us know, most meetings and far too many of the less-formal conversations at work just don’t generate excitement, or learning, or even clarity. And that’s being kind:  I’m not even considering the meetings that waste time and generate anger, frustration, and patently wrong decisions. And worst of all is how few conversations tap into the “hidden talent” that everyone carries around with them every day in the form of experiences, insights, ideas, and intentions.

But the barriers that get in our way are actually very basic, and very understandable. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Goodbye 2014; On to 2015!

December 29, 2014

Top Ten List

image: www.sdfcs.org

I hope you are enjoying this holiday season. No matter which holiday you celebrate, this is a time to slow down, relish time with family and friends, reflect on the past year, and think ahead to the new year.

In that spirit, I want to share with you my “Top Ten” newsletters/blog posts for 2014, based roughly on which of them you opened most often.

You’ll see quickly that my recent focus on corporate conversations dominates this list, but it also includes several other important observations about the future of work.

So, here goes, from the top down:

1. Mindsets are More Important than Skillsets

There are hundreds of books about how to conduct meetings, yet most corporate meetings are dull, unproductive time wasters. What’s going on? Why don’t leaders do what they know how to do? I suggested here that the attitudes and mindsets of team leaders are far more important than meeting management skillsets. [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Put the Why Before the What

December 22, 2014

animated-wreath-bellsFirst of all, best wishes for this holiday season – and for every day of the rest of your life. December is a time for slowing down, spending time with your family and friends, and appreciating the blessings of being alive in this exciting time.

Please take some time this week to reflect on the year that is ending, and do some serious thinking about the incredible opportunities that lie ahead in 2015.

Here are a few questions that might help with your reflections:

  • Why are you focused on what you are focused on?
  • What are you most proud of that you accomplished this year?
  • What opportunities did you let slip away?
  • What do you want to stop doing next year?
  • What do you want to start doing?
  • Deep down, what do you care about? Why?

But please don’t fall into the trap of making overly ambitious new year’s resolutions; if they are difficult to achieve, or presume a sudden change of habits, or require new skills that you haven’t mastered yet, the chances are you won’t accomplish your goals, and you’ll end up beating up on yourself.

Focus less on the What and more on the Why. [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

InternetYesterday I wanted to understand a definition of leadership that I’d heard about at a recent conference. I typed the first four words of the definition into my browser search engine, hit Return, and in 0.42 seconds I had a list of over 58,000,000 relevant links. 58 million links! In 0.42 seconds!

Many of us don’t really understand how fortunate we are to be alive in 2014. Each of us has access to practically all the world’s recorded knowledge, whenever we want it, no matter where we are, in almost no time at all, and at practically no cost.

Not only that, but each of us can also communicate with almost every other human being, no matter where that person is, almost instantaneously, and again at almost no cost.

And every one of us can publish our ideas and our opinions on a global basis. In the last week alone my website has been visited by people from countries as far away from my home base as South Africa, Namibia, Russia, Iran, India, China, Australia, Vietnam, Brazil, and Nigeria (among many others).

I’m not bragging; I am simply astounded. [click to continue…]

{ 3 comments }

Ask Me About My BookIt happened again. I was at a National Speakers Association Northern California Chapter event on Saturday, proudly wearing my button that reads “Ask Me About My Book” (a gift from Cathy Fyock, my writing coach).

Several people did ask (thank you!), and I responded something like this:

Thanks for asking. The working title of the book is Changing the Corporate Conversation. I want to improve the quality of meetings and all kinds of conversations at work. I’m convinced the workforce as a whole is wasting millions of hours of time attending mundane, non-productive meetings of all kinds. My goal is to enable people to design and lead innovative, productive meetings that leverage the talent inherent in every organization.

How did that premise strike people? [click to continue…]

{ 6 comments }

BizMeeting 000018482966XSmallHow often have you walked into a corporate meeting wondering why you were there? Or walked out angrily after wasting an hour getting absolutely nothing done?

As a good friend said recently, “Meetings are the bane of our existence.” And if you want to generate universal consensus, just make a comment about how horrible most meetings are.

What’s going on? In my experience there are two major shortcomings in the way most meetings are handled. And I’ve developed a four-question checklist to help me and my clients turn meetings into productive, energizing experiences.

[click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

That’s the title of my article that was just published on Huffington Post – my first submission and first acceptance.

I’m very proud of that accomplishment, but what matters is that you read my analysis of why management is so broken, and what we should be doing to replace it.

Here’s the link to the post: Don’t Fix Management; Replace It.

Please read it, and then comment there, or comment here – but don’t just read it and forget it. Act on it!

{ 2 comments }