How many meetings do you find yourself in without a clear objective? Do you get stressed in the meeting knowing that the real work is building up while you are stuck? Does the meeting organizer fool anyone when he is unprepared?
“People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.” –Thomas Sewell
Years ago, I was introduced to the concept of the “three P’s” at a Wilson Learning sales training seminar. It was introduced as an effective sales tool. Throughout the years, I have used the three P’s as a way to conduct effective meetings of any kind. It isn’t just a sales technique. It can be a way to save a lot of time and energy and focus the meeting on the objective.
“The least productive people are usually the ones who are most in favor of holding meetings.” –Thomas Sewell
Is it possible to eliminate the performance review process?
Should customers come second?
Do open offices work?
Most businesses have rules and practices that have developed over many years. Whether inherited from long ago practices or invented by the company, these rules often continue unquestioned.
My friend Dr. David Burkus is a business school professor and author who questions many common business practices. His research reveals that many of the rules are outdated, misguided, and possibly counterproductive. His research looks at the contrarian practices of companies such as Zappos and Netflix where the rules are being rewritten.
“Great leaders don’t settle for low levels of efficiency.” –David Burkus
David, in one book, you have assembled some of the most contrarian practices being used in business today. What led you to this approach?
After I wrote my first book, The Myths of Creativity, in which I talked a bit about practices like hackathons and 20% time that spurred innovation, I started to get even more curious about the things innovative companies were doing that seemed unusual or opposite of best practices. As I travelled down that rabbit hole I found lots of people writing about why the ideas were unique and appealing, but no one was making the case for why these practices work so well. Since organizational psychology is my background, I started to look at these ideas through the lens of human behavior and found compelling reasons for why they might be better than best practices.
Do you believe many of our management practices and principles are outdated? Is this a global view?
Well that depends. As Daniel Pink rightly pointed out in Drive, the shift from industrial work to knowledge work left a lot that needed to change about how we motivate people. I think that shift has broader management implications, which I explore in Under New Management. So yes, if you’re organization does mostly knowledge work, it’s likely that your management practices are rooted in some outdated assumptions.
Ban Email and Increase Productivity
Let’s look at email. Does banning email really work? Do these techniques work in larger organizations? Doesn’t moving to other technology tools just move the problem and not address the fact that it is people, not the tool, that cause it?
Email is an amazing tool because it’s cheap and it’s asynchronous. But it’s a difficult tool for exactly that reason. It’s easy to send…so we send it far too much. And because it’s asynchronous, it moved us to a world where we’re always on. There are a lot of other tools that are also cheap and asynchronous, but it’s a matter of how the tool is used.
And yes, to some extent, it’s a people issue. The companies that banned email took a deep look at their communication needs and settled on another tool for internal communication. If you’ve looked at what your team’s communication needs are and email meets those needs….great. But odds are, there’s a better tool out there.
“Leaders are discovering that limiting email improves productivity.” –David Burkus
This is a guest post by friend and mentor Bruce Rhoades, who retired after having run several companies. He often helps me with strategy. I am delighted that he is a regular contributor.
Questions to Shape The Year Ahead
It is that time of year when many people assess the past year and make plans for the next one. Businesses develop strategies and goals, individuals write resolutions and families plan vacations. Many individual plans involve possessions, places and events.
One of the most important, but perhaps difficult, topics to assess is personal improvement. If you are happy with yourself and your current situation, everything else will seem better. Since it is sometimes more difficult to “see yourself” and develop actions for self-improvement, here is a list of questions to help identify some candidate areas for improvement.
The list covers many topics to generate ideas. I suggest that you simply read the list, make lots of notes as you go and not try to develop or prioritize actions until later. Suggestions for next steps are discussed at the end.
“If you are happy with yourself and current situation, everything else will seem better.” –Bruce Rhoades
“I don’t understand extroverts. She is so out there.”
“I don’t know what he is thinking. What is bothering him?”
“How do I break through to her?”
“Was that a conclusion or is he thinking out loud?”
As an extrovert married to an introvert, I have long been interested in what makes an effective partnership between very different people. I’ve learned that I’m far from alone and that many successful duos are two people with different styles and approaches. Whether a married couple or a business partnership, it is possible to adapt and develop a winning partnership. Learning to leverage each other’s strengths and capitalize on your differences can improve your results.
Would you share a few examples of famous opposites?
Sure, there are many. The Wright Brothers, Venus and Serena Williams, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, Penn and Teller, Siskel and Ebert, Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
What most bothers introverts about extroverts and vice versa?
There are a lot of disconnects on both sides. Introverts think extroverts are changing their minds and don’t have clear thinking when they toss out ideas. But they are just releasing their energy, and they get charged up that way. They are just downloading ideas.
Introverts also wonder why extroverts need so much going on. They think extroverts don’t have enough self-discipline to just be there and get work done. Introverts judge that a lot. But extroverts like more stimulation, and the juggling makes them energized and engaged. They get their work done, just in spurts.
Other misfirings in their wiring? Being private (introverts) vs. being an open book (extroverts) causes challenges. Introverts want to get to know you slowly and warm up to you. Extroverts feel excluded when introverts don’t share and get tired of pulling answers out of introverts who don’t offer much info during conversations.
Introverts crave quiet time for recharging, creativity and decompression and are frustrated when extroverts don’t let them have it. Like a teenage boy, my introverted husband Bill keeps a sign on the door that says, “Do Not Disturb.” He means it, too!
A Model for Bringing Us Together
Opposites can form a strong partnership if they follow your ABCDE model. How did you develop this approach? Is one part more difficult for an extrovert or introvert?
I interviewed over 40 sets of opposite partners and key themes emerged. I asked them to explore the successes and struggles they had in working with their opposite partner. Because they spoke with me or wrote me separately, some unique perspectives emerged. I also read about figures from sports, entertainment and science. I learned that the success factors crossed over fields and roles.
I think the challenges we face in opposite pairings are equally difficult for introverts and extroverts. And if we are honest about it, we each drive each other crazy from time to time!
“Genius opposites do not just ‘happen’.” -Jennifer Kahnweiler
You Can, You Will: 8 Undeniable Qualities of a Winner is the latest book by Joel Osteen. Fans of Joel Osteen’s positive message will enjoy the stories throughout the book of inspiration and encouragement.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to talk with Joel, who is the pastor of Lakewood, the largest church in the U.S. He’s immediately recognizable from his television ministry, bestselling books and stadium appearances. Not too long ago, I noticed he has his own SiriusXM station.
As I look back on my earliest interviews for this website, I laugh. My first three in-person interviews included Pastor Joel Osteen, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and writer and producer John Carter Cash, the son of Johnny and June Carter Cash.
Let me be frank: I didn’t know what I was doing. I wasn’t a professional interviewer. My colleague, Drew Bordas, had vast video and audio experience. At that point, I think his total experience was that he occasionally videotaped his kids at home. Looking at this interview, I am thankful that Joel was so kind, so encouraging, and so forgiving to allow us to stumble through it. What makes it more remarkable is if you know Joel Osteen’s backstory. Joel is a true pro when it comes to production. Before he stepped up to minister after his father passed away, he worked behind the scenes and became a video and audio expert.
Here are some lessons I learned from that visit.
6 Leadership Lessons
1. Don’t condemn and judge others.
He says it, but my visit proves he lives it, too.
How often we waste time condemning, criticizing and complaining. It wastes time, drains energy, and is counterproductive.
Whatever you do, you want it to be in line with your life purpose. Observing Joel, I can see that he knows his own gifts and his purpose. He focuses his energy and talent on it. He genuinely wants everyone to have a blessed life, and he believes in the positive nature of people.
An organization with a unifying purpose will galvanize everyone to achieve.
As he says, “Whatever challenges you may face, whatever circumstances are weighing you down, you can choose your response. How you live your life is totally up to you.” His books are full of strategies on how to live a happier, more abundant life.