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Once & For All: Stopping Sexual Harassment at Work

Archive for the ‘Managing Meetings’ Category

How To Streamline Your Meetings and Make Them More Productive

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

image of a business meetingMeetings are designed to occur in an allotted amount of time to address topics and business in an orderly fashion. In the workplace, you want to ensure your meetings are productive and effective. All too often, however, meetings are sidetracked with time-wasting discussions, unproductive behaviors, and weak meeting leadership. Motivating meeting openers and focused agendas can set the tone for a meeting and guide the session where it needs to go.


Have an Agenda

Proper organization of the meeting is just as important as the content and topics covered. You want to ensure an adequate amount of time is allotted for each topic in order to keep the meeting moving. Create an agenda for your team to refer to throughout the duration of your meeting. This prevents meetings being taken off course by distractions, talkative employees, and side discussions.  

Stay Focused

Focus is key. You don’t want to waste anybody’s time attending your meeting (this begins by only inviting people to the meeting who are absolutely necessary). It’s important to stay within the context of the agenda you’ve set. When you set your goals for the meeting, keep in mind that every meeting should have a purpose. Decide ahead of time what answers or decisions you need to walk away from the meeting with. Then, all discussion should be somehow related to that initial purpose and your set of goals.

Define Takeaways

Takeaways symbolize a successful meeting. If your goals are clearly defined in the agenda and discussed effectively during your meeting, the steps following the meeting should be very clear. The attendees of your meeting should have clear takeaways (who owns what task, and when it’s due). At the conclusion of your meeting, there should be an answer to every question/concern that was discussed. If there wasn’t, there should be follow-up steps to find answers to those questions. Accountability is incredibly important; therefore the meeting leader should take the initiative to clearly define the next steps that should be completed prior to the follow-up meeting. This ensures that by the next meeting, the to-dos of every member were clearly defined and completed.

At CRM Learning, we offer the best team building training videos. Explore our meeting management training videos, like Meeting Robbers, Meetings, Bloody Meetings, and The Invisible Meeting to ensure your meetings will be productive and effective in the future.

The Abilene Paradox – How you can skip the trip!

Monday, October 13th, 2014

confroomIn our first article of this series, we learned how a family trip to Abilene on a 104-degree Texas afternoon led Professor Jerry Harvey to discover what he calls “The Abilene Paradox.” The paradox occurs when groups take actions in contradiction to what the individual members really want to do. Remember that Professor Harvey described the Abilene Paradox as the inability to manage agreement rather than the inability to manage conflict.

We’ve also explored six tell-tale signs that will help us recognize when we might be on a” trip to Abilene” and four underlying psychological dynamics that create the conditions for the Paradox. The question is…what do we do about it?

If we believe our group or organization is caught in the Paradox – and is “on the road to Abilene” –Professor Harvey recommends we speak up and confront the Paradox in a group setting. Working within the context of a group is important, because the dynamics of the Abilene Paradox involve collusion among group members.

The first step in the confrontation is to “own up” to our true beliefs and be open to the feedback we receive when we share them. By owning up, we let others know we’re concerned that the group may be making a decision based on inaccurate data. To illustrate this, let’s revisit this workplace scenario (from article two). (more…)

The Crucial Role of Meeting Leader

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Learning to Manage MeetingsIn The Strategy of Meetings, George David Kieffer writes that the meeting leader must “make the team believe that (1) the group is worth being with; (2) individual members will have an opportunity to influence the outcome; and (3) the cause is one that warrants their attention and effort.”

As a meeting leader, how might you get these messages across? Here are a few ideas:

  • Justify the need to call a meeting in the first place. Many valid reasons exist to hold meetings: to inform and discover, build unity, allow a dynamic question-and-answer session, make joint decisions and generate ideas. But there are also plenty of times when assembling a meeting isn’t the best use of everyone’s time; when the work can be accomplished, or the information communicated, just as efficiently (or more efficiently) via phone, email or one-to-one conversation.
  • Before assembling a team and calling a meeting, identify the general purpose and specific objectives. For example, for a customer service problem-solving meeting, specific objectives might be: Determine why the customer service department is missing its deadlines 75% of the time; identify and evaluate ways to decrease turnaround time to 48 hours or less; find a solution that can be implemented before the end of the third quarter and assign responsibility for implementing the solution. These sample objectives are results-oriented, emphasizing specific outcomes. (An example of vague objectives for the same meeting might be “Find out how the customer services reps are doing and, if improvement is needed, kick around some ideas for making things better.”). When possible, link meeting objectives to organizational goals.

(more…)

3 Words That Put Ideas into Action: “I’ll Own That”

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Employee AccountabilityNothing is more energizing than having great ideas fly around a meeting room and everyone is engaged in solving problems and getting things done. In tough economic times, seeing employees express ideas about how to keep the business booming is especially rewarding. “We should put this on the website!” “We can get advertising to highlight this feature in the next marketing campaign!” “Customers will love the ability to download this information!”

You want to keep these great expectations moving from one meeting to the next and ensure that the best ideas are not allowed to stall. It’s important that the great ideas “we” need to act on are not lost. Those ideas are gold and the miners of that gold are in the room.

The Problem with “We”
To get to the gold, you must eliminate the Nothing Has Been Done with the Great Ideas We Had in the Last Meeting syndrome. And why does nothing get done? Because “we” were going to do it.

To harness the power of every employee you must remember that the pronoun “we” doesn’t do anything or get anything done. When a person says “we” should do something, that’s great! What’s even greater, though, is when everyone is led to move a “we” to an “I”… with an accompanying “by-when”.

Imagine how the results of your team will skyrocket when individuals begin saying things like…“We have come up with some great stuff! I am especially excited about customers downloading this information. I’ll own that, and by the next meeting I will have an outline for you.” (more…)

7 Quick Tips for Leading Meetings

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Do you only have a minute to spare? Need a few quick tips for leading your next meeting? Check out the tips below!Effective Meeting Training

1. Be Very Clear on the Purpose of the Meeting
Before your meeting, set goals and decide upon the specific objective for the upcoming meeting. Identify the desired outcome for each agenda item to be discussed. Doing this will clarify what needs to be accomplished during the meeting.

2. Begin Small Meetings with Introductions
First introduce yourself and thank people for coming to the meeting. Review the proposed agenda for the attendees. Briefly explain each item, so people understand what the agenda topics mean and point out the time limit. Ask if there are any questions. Doing this provides structure to the meeting and communicates to the attendees that the meeting has a schedule and a defined set of goals that must be accomplished.

3. Involve As Many People As Possible During the Meeting
Ask silent people for their opinions, call on a variety of people, and don’t allow nonstop talkers to monopolize the discussion – everyone will appreciate it. Having a variety of people contributing not only creates an interesting discussion but also promotes a more in-depth discussion. The more perspectives that are involved, the better your group’s decisions. Making an effort to involve all participants also moves people from a passive to an active role.

4. Make Sure Everyone Understands What’s Going On
Throughout the discussion, it’s a good idea to clarify and summarize what’s happening. This shows consideration for all of your meeting participants and helps maintain focus during the meeting.

5. Remember That Time Is Important
Disorganized and unexpectedly long meetings can demoralize people. Try to put time limits on each agenda item and select a timekeeper. Keep the meeting moving and adhere to the schedule dictated by the agenda. Otherwise, your meeting will go overtime and the attendees will become frustrated.

6. Assign Action Items
When action items arise from the meeting discussion, assign them immediately. Select an individual, a priority level and a due date for the action item. This way, no items will be forgotten or left unassigned. You’ll likely get some volunteers to help fulfill any remaining action items. Naturally, everyone wants to be helpful and cooperative in front of their peers! (more…)

The Invisible Meeting

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Effective online presentationsIn today’s hectic and technology driven workplace, face to face meetings are rapidly being replaced by conference calls and Skype sessions. Business may be taking place on the other side of the country, or the other side of the globe for that matter, and as a result meeting dynamics have changed.

Unfortunately, many people have not yet learned the skills needed to communicate in this type of meeting. Turn your conference calls into meetings of productivity and clear communication with the training video The Invisible Meeting. This video demonstrates 6 effective techniques for making conference calls, or”invisible meeting,” more productive. Teams will learn how to effectively “cyber coordinate,” announce, minimize noise, use clear language, get verbal feedback, and act efficiently as a team. These skills are imperative for the modern workplace, especially as international relationships within corporations deepen. (more…)

Making Meetings Count

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Making the Most of MeetingsIt is astounding the amount of time the average working person spends in meetings. Make that time count; instead of making your employees dread another boring meeting (where many people admit to “zoning out” and disengaging (a waste of time and resources if there ever was one) make sure you are taking the time and effort to engage people. Here are some videos that are guaranteed to inspire and motivate your audience.

Power of Words, Meeting Opener This short “meeting opener” video sets the stage for great meetings. It focuses on teamwork, diversity, and communication. It teaches employees to communicate in a positive and powerful way and is a great foundation for launching a meeting.

Priorities for Life, a 6-Part Series – Meeting openers set the tone for meetings. If openers are weak you’ll lose people right off the bat. This video features 6 meeting openers or closers featuring motivational themes. It teaches how we can bring out the best in ourselves and others. (more…)

How to Kill a Great Idea

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Assumptions: A major roadblock to innovation
By Mitchell Ditkoff

Thomas Edison had a very simple way of conducting job interviews. He’d invite prospective employees to join him for soup in the company cafeteria. If they salted their soup before tasting it, the interview was over. Plain and simple. Given the nature of his work – where even a single stone unturned could mean the difference between the failure or success of a costly product – Edison could not afford to surround himself with people ruled by faulty assumptions.

Of all the roadblocks to innovation, assumptions are the worst. Invisible, insidious and habitual, they stop us before we even start – the default position for those of us too consumed by our past to consider the future the way it really is: pure potentiality.

Definition of an assumption
What is an assumption? Simply put, it’s “taking something for granted”. A “supposition.” We do it all the time – although not always to our detriment. For example, if you leave your toothbrush in the bathroom at night, it’s safe to assume that it will be there in the morning. Your assumption saves you lots of time searching for it in the kitchen or garage. Other assumptions, however, don’t work out quite as well – despite the seeming evidence for their veracity. Many of our ancestors, for example, assumed the earth was flat. They had “proof.” They saw it with their own eyes. But their so-called proof – their inaccurate interpretation of existing phenomena – was a far cry from reality. And it was precisely because of their faulty assumptions, that many of our ancestors missed out on the New World and all the fabulous beachfront property that came with it.

Think about it. If every ten years half of what scientists believe to be true is proven to be false, how much of what your decisions are based on is anything more than just a temporary – and not very elegant – arrangement of half-baked perceptions, flaky factoids, and loosely interpreted statistics?
Take a minute now to consider what you may be assuming falsely. What conclusions have you drawn that prevent you from sailing new oceans? What beliefs are you bound by that are likely to be laughable three years from now? Are you absolutely sure you know what your customers want? Are you positive your manager won’t free up the money to fund your latest idea? Can you say, without a shadow of a doubt, that your current strategy to accomplish your “stretch goal” is based on anything more than hearsay and hot talk?

Famous assumptions
But hey, you’re not alone in your tendency to jump to conclusions. Join the club as you consider some of these (now famous) limiting assumptions throughout history:

“I think there is a world market for about five computers.” (Thomas Watson, founder of IBM)

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” (Charles Duell, Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899)

“There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.” (Albert Einstein)

“The phonograph is not of any commercial value.” ( Thomas Edison)

“I don’t need body guards.” (Jimmy Hoffa)

“Man will not fly for 50 years.” (Wilbur Wright, 1903)

“640K ought to be enough for anybody.” (Bill Gates)

“With over 50 foreign cars on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn’t likely to carve out a big slice of the U.S. market for itself.” (Business Week, 1968)

Conclusion
What is your biggest assumption about your hottest new idea? What is your company’s most pervasive, collective assumption? What can you do today to identify the one assumption most likely to sabotage your future success? What can you do to go beyond it?

Mitchell Ditkoff is president of Idea Champions, www.ideachampions.com
Reprinted from innovationtools.com

Training Solution: Pigeonholed in The Land of Penguins This video shows your employees how to see their co-workers in a new and different way; and helps them tap into the creativity of every team member.

8 Ways to Generate More Ideas in a Group

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

The scene is repeated in meeting rooms around the world every day. A problem has been identified and a group has gathered to solve the problem. When ideas are needed, the group decides to brainstorm. And all too often this exercise leads to a short list of not-that-creative ideas.

We know that if we generate more ideas we have a better chance of finding better ideas. This leads us to the logical conclusion that if we can find techniques to create more ideas, we will find better ones. No one technique however will guarantee the perfect solution. Instead your goals should be to have a variety of approaches to help stimulate idea creation in your repertoire. By doing this you will improve the overall quality of ideas by virtue of having more to choose from.

Whether you are unhappy with the current creativity of your group or are having good success with brainstorming sessions, but would like them to be even better, any of the eight suggestions below can help.

Look at problems in different ways. Get the group to change their perspective on the problem. Once people “lock into” one way of looking at things the idea flow will slow to a trickle. Have people take a new persona. Ask them to look at the issue from the perspective of another group – accounting, HR, or sales for example. Ask them to think about how their grandmother or an 8 year old would solve the problem. These are simple ways to force people into a new perspective and the new perspectives will generate more ideas.

Make novel combinations. The ideas that land on the flip chart or whiteboard in a brainstorming session are typically considered individually. Have the group look at the initial list and look for ways to combine the ideas into new ones.

Force relationships. Once a group is finished with their initial list, provide them with words, pictures or objects. The objects can be random items, the words can come from a randomly generated list or from pictures in magazines or newspapers. When people have their random word, picture or item, have them create connections between the problem and their item. Use questions like, “How could this item solve our problem?” What attributes of this item could help us solve our problem?”

Make their thoughts visible. Have people draw! Too often the brainstorming session has everyone sitting except the person capturing the ideas. Let people doodle and draw and you never know what ideas may be spurred.

Think in opposites. Rather than asking your direct problem question, ask the opposite. “How could we ensure no one bought this new product?” could be one example. Capturing the ideas on “the opposite,” will illuminate ideas for solving the actual problem.

Think metaphorically. This approach is similar to forcing relationships (and is another way to use your words, pictures or items). Pick a random idea/item and ask the group, “How is this item like our problem?” Metaphors can be a very powerful way to create new ideas where none existed before.

Prepare. Too often people are asked to brainstorm a problem with no previous thinking time. If people have time to think about a topic, and let their brains work on it for awhile, they will create more and better ideas. Allow people to be better prepared mentally by sharing the challenges you will be brainstorming some time before the meeting whenever possible.

Set a Goal. Research shows and my experience definitely confirms that the simple act of giving people a quantity goal before starting the brainstorming session will lead to a longer list of ideas to consider. Set your goal at least a little higher than you think you can get – and higher than this group typically achieves. Set the goal and watch the group reach it!

While these suggestions have all been written from the perspective of a group generating ideas, they all work very well for individuals too. The next time you need to solve a problem by yourself, use these techniques and you will be astounded by the quantity of ideas you will generate!

By Kevin Eikenberry

Kevin Eikenberry is a leadership expert and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a learning consulting company that helps clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. www.kevineikenberry.com Reprinted from innovationtools.com

Training Solution: Free Radicals of Innovation: Everyone wants to be creative, but most people fear change. This program shows the nine principles of innovation and how to make them work for your team.


 

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