5 Tips to Master Your Next Meeting

meeting
This is a guest post by Dr. Rick Brinkman. Dr. Brinkman is a communications expert and keynote speaker with clients ranging from NSA to IBM. His latest book is Dealing With Meetings You Can’t Stand: Meet Less and Do More.

Master Meetings

Business leaders always look for ways to boost engagement and productivity, but few of us would start with meetings. A 2015 Harris Poll found that going to meetings is the biggest obstacle to getting work done. Many of us see meetings as a necessary evil. For most C-suite executives, meetings devour 40% of our worktime: focusing on them even more is not exactly appealing.

 

Harris Research: Meetings are the biggest obstacle to getting work done.

 

But creating better meetings is a highly effective way to make your people happier, energized and more productive — without increasing their hours or salary. Here’s one simple but effective approach with an immense payoff: Don’t think of it as a meeting. Instead, think of being on an airplane flight, with the meeting participants as the passengers.

Confined in a small space together for a designated period of time, passengers are subject to possibly rough weather, unpleasant neighbors, a fatigued pilot, or worse. But we all have to fly. It’s a useful analogy since that’s what it feels like, most of the time, to be in a meeting. Imagine your people’s surprise when you can make the “flight” a whole lot more bearable in 5 practical steps:

 

1. Question its necessity.

Start planning the meeting by asking if it’s even necessary. As a leader, you sometimes challenge teams to justify the purpose behind an action. First identify the meeting’s purpose, then ask if it’s best served by a meeting, or there’s another way.

 

2. Measure the cost.

Meetings all have a cost. There’s the cost of what people are paid to sit in the meeting and there’s the price of all the work they’re not doing because they’re in a meeting. Knowing the cost, is the meeting worth it?

 

3. Create an agenda.

4 Keys of Personal Reliability

This is a guest post by Lee J. Colan, Ph.D. Lee Colan and Julie Davis Colan co-authored The 5 Coaching Habits of Excellent Leaders.  They also co-founded The L Group in 1999 to equip and inspire leaders at every level:  personal, team and organizational.

Personal Reliability

A business that delivers reliable results is the sum of reliable teams, and reliable teams are the sum of reliable individuals. So, building reliable business results really starts with a leader coaching each team member to deliver reliable individual results.

 

“Personal reliability is a cornerstone of leadership.” -Lee Colan

 

Personal reliability is a cornerstone of leadership. Ken May began working at FedEx while he was in college. He started at the bottom sorting packages. He gradually worked his way up, becoming the Senior Vice President of North American Operations. He then became CEO of FedEx Kinko’s and is currently CEO of Topgolf. When asked about his career climb, May is quick to say, “I just work hard at whatever I do. I don’t complain. I don’t blame. I just work hard. I’m grateful for my job, my organization and my customers. I try to never promise what I can’t deliver.”

May knows that he can’t expect anything from his employees that he isn’t willing to model. His employees know they have a boss, a friend and an example in May. He, in turn, has a loyal workforce. As May has been heard to say, “Personal reliability at the top is the beginning of a successful organization, a dedicated workforce and loyal customers.”

 

3 Levels of Leadership

Leadership is an inside job. It starts inside with your personal leadership traits, such as integrity, trust, competence, authenticity – all of which are aspects of personal reliability. In fact, our company logo is a group of three stacked L’s representing the three levels of leadership: personal, team and organizational. You cannot expect your team to be reliable (or any other trait for that matter) if you are not being reliable. Since reliability, like leadership, is built from the inside out, the most important question a leader should ask is, “How reliable am I?”

 

“Reliability, like leadership, is build from the inside out.” -Lee Colan

5 Break-Through Insights that Create a Meaningful Workplace

meaning
This is a guest post by Danny Gutknecht, CEO and Co-founder of Pathways, an advisory firm that helps organizations tap their potential. His new book is Meaning at Work – And Its Hidden Language.

 

Create a Meaningful Workplace

Organizations have blundered in their attempts to provide purpose and meaning for employees. But meaning and purpose are not something that companies can provide.

Meaning is a human need that runs an operating system intrinsic to itself. No one can plot it for us; we can’t download it and install it like an app. We can’t live up to or adopt values painted on the wall.

Until we understand the principles of how meaning works for the organization and for human beings, and implement processes that will allow meaning to occur, we’ll continue to experience the churn that comes from lack of alignment.

Consider these five break-through insights that can help create a meaningful workplace:

 

1. Learn how meaning works. 

Meaning is created daily through experience and interactions we have with everything in our lives. We have an inner dialogue with our work, relationships and organizations. Our meaning is the result of how we interpret and interact with our world. When work is meaningful, we strive to improve and engage more deeply with it. When we share meaning with a group or company, each is enhanced and grows. But make no mistake: meaning can’t be given; it can only be shared.

 

2. Make meaning the key to organizational excellence, and to personal excellence.

BE Aerospace won a contract to create a product with multiple iterations in a highly regulated environment. It hired a slew of top engineers in the UK, but the flow of engineers out the door was as steady as the flow coming in. It was killing the company’s ability to deliver. By interrogating and mining the meaning of the company, it became clear that the engineers who were leaving weren’t aligned with those who were staying, even though they thought they were. The message from management in the recruiting phase missed the essence of who they were. Those who left described the work as overwhelming, with impossible challenges and unsolvable problems. The ones who were engaged and loved what they did were fulfilled by the challenge. As one employee put it, “It’s like being dropped into the ocean with no beach in sight — so you start swimming and soon you learn it’s a damn fine beach when you get there.” Because traditional job descriptions and marketing messages dominated the employment conversation, everyone missed the conversation about what mattered most.

 

3. Recruit to meaning.

4 Traits Leaders Can Learn From Dogs: The Fido Factor

dog boss

Lead Like a Dog

What can leaders learn from dogs?

 

“Be the person your dog thinks you are.” –J.W. Stephens

 

In a quick, humorous read, co-authors Krissi & Dan Barr, in The Fido Factor: How to Get a Leg Up at Work, share how dogs can motivate each of us to become a more effective leader. Dogs can teach leaders the importance of being faithful, inspirational, determined and observant. I won’t mention how this book will help you unleash your potential, have you barking up the right tree, or help you get a leg up at work.

 

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” –Mark Twain

 

4 Traits Leaders Should Emulate

“It’s time to lead like a dog.” That’s the last sentence on one of your first pages, and it would surprise most readers. Tell us what you mean.

It likely won’t come as a big surprise to the 44 percent of American families that have dogs! Clearly we’ve taken some literary license in drawing the leadership parallels between dogs and business leaders, but the truth is there are many important lessons we can learn from our four-legged friends.

We boiled it all down to four traits dogs exhibit: they’re faithful, inspirational, determined and observant. Anyone who improves in those areas will become a better leader. And we’ve filled the book with hundreds of practical ways to do just that.

 

“A hungry dog hunts best.” –Lee Trevino

 

The Hallmarks of a Faithful Leader

Faithful is the first trait in FIDO Factor. What are the hallmarks of a faithful leader?

At the core of it, faithful leaders earn the trust of their team and their customers by doing the right things and living up to their word.

Form a bond with a dog, and you’ll have a faithful friend, someone you can depend on and who will defend you no matter what. When you are regarded as faithful, it means you’ve earned trust. You can be relied upon.

Trust comes from being loyal to your teammates and customers and doing what you say you’re going to do when you say you’ll do it. It’s awfully hard to be an impactful leader if others don’t think you’re committed to the cause.

The issue of being faithful at work goes to the heart of team building. To get both results and loyal team members requires a personal connection based on your team’s belief in you and what you stand for. You need to build trust to be influential, and you need to be faithful to build trust.

Faithful leaders work in a way consistent with both their company and personal values.  They don’t spend sleepless nights worrying about what they said, how they acted or whether or not they did the right thing. That’s because they make values-based choices that put the good of the team ahead of the personal interests of the leader—just like your dog does.

 

“Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail.” –Kinky Friedman

 

Inspirational is number two. You say, “Inspiration moves people to do the extraordinary.” What is it about inspirational leadership that draws us in so fast?

6 Helpful Insults to Hurl at Your Inner Perfectionist

fire
This is a guest post by Scott Mautz. Scott is CEO of Prof0und Performance, a workshop, coaching and online training company. I highly recommend his new book Find the Fire: Ignite Your Inspiration and Make Work Exciting Again. After I read it, I asked Scott if we could run this book excerpt. You’ll find the entire book full of excellent advice.

 

6 Helpful Insults

 

Nobody’s perfect, but some people try anyway. Perfection seems like a noble goal. Managers expect employees to pay attention to detail and perform at their best. Many spouses think their significant others could strive a little harder for perfection (My wife is the one exception.)
In reality, your inner perfectionist is sucking the life out of you and your relationships. You need to squash it to find contentment and inspiration for your work and your life.
So let’s hurl some insults at our inner perfectionists, shall we?

1. “I’m gonna slap the ‘should’ out of you.”

Seriously, strike the word should from your vocabulary. When perfectionists use the word, like in the sentences, “I should go over this again to make sure it’s 100 percent right,” “This should be a lot better than it is right now,” or “I should have done X and Y,” it’s like granting a license for perpetual revisiting and remorse. Stop. Will more massaging really change the outcome? Tell yourself done is done, dammit.

 

“Strike the word should from your vocabulary.” -Scott Mautz

 

2. “Your perfectionism isn’t just hurting you.”

The collateral damage of your perfectionism is everywhere—don’t underestimate it.

Perfectionists tend to judge and criticize not only themselves but everyone else. The more they see their own flaws in others, the more they pick, as a sort of displacement mechanism. The constant criticism and judging isolates and distances the perfectionist from others, further exacerbating their “I must not be good enough” belief. Perfectionists are often unaware of the impact this corrosive behavior has on others. They’re assuming that everyone else is harshly judging them, so to do so as well is just the way of the world.

Expand your worldview and understand that your misplaced heat, like that of global warming, is indeed affecting the world around you for the worse.

 

“Perfectionists are often unaware of the impact this corrosive behavior has on others.” -Scott Mautz

 

3. “Accept yourself before you wreck yourself!”