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Once & For All: Stopping Sexual Harassment at Work

Posts Tagged ‘Managing Meetings’

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…)

Avoiding Problem-Solving Landmines

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Changing regulations. New technologies.  Budget cuts.  Let’s face it. Challenges abound in today’s workplace! There is a tremendous need for leaders to address these types of situations quickly. But the last thing you need is to rush off and make mistakes that could have been avoided. Here are five pitfalls and tips for getting around them.

Mistake 1) For the sake of speed and efficiency, take the “I’ll do it myself” approach to identifying a solution.  (Here’s where you tell yourself that involving a lot of people will just cause confusion or possibly create a scenario where people will get hurt because their input isn’t acted upon.)

Yes, when facilitated improperly, collaborative group sessions can end in chaos and hurt feelings. But, when you don’t involve others, you are missing an opportunity to engage your team, collect ideas from those closest to the problem and present team members with an opportunity to align themselves with organizational objectives. The key is to learn how to properly facilitate a collaborative session.  Remember, as a leader, it’s not your job to have all the answers, but it IS your job to develop and utilize the knowledge and talent of your team.

Mistake 2) Focus on who or what caused the problem so you can solve it once and for all.
  (This is when you act from the belief that the best way to make progress on solving a problem is to first go backward.)

Identifying the root-cause of a problem is sometimes necessary to solving it.  But most of the time it’s best not to stay mired in the past looking for who/what to blame.  Switching your team to a future focus can instantly change the tone of a meeting from cautious to cooperative.  As much as you can, avoid fixating on the things that aren’t working and use the group’s energy to identify things that are going well (…there is always something positive to build on, if you look hard enough).

Mistake 3) Assume that everyone shares the same understanding of what needs to be accomplished.  (Sad but true…group members often think they have the same destination in mind, but they end up arriving at different places.)

It is critically important to clarify the group’s goal by asking “what is our objective?”. Your team likely has people in different positions with vastly different perspectives on the situation. (For example, finance may think the objective is strictly to reduce expenses while fulfillment thinks it is to control costs while ensuring a sufficient inventory level.)  The diverse opinions and experiences of your team will work to your advantage only if you make sure everyone is using the same definition of success when it comes to the desired outcome.

Mistake 4) Get buy-in to the solution by reminding people what will happen if nothing is done.  (Okay, this isn’t a bad thing in and of itself; it’s only a mistake if you don’t ALSO cover the myriad benefits of finding a solution.)

When people don’t connect value to the achievement of a goal, motivation and execution suffer.  For maximum buy-in, have the group consider the benefits that will be realized by all stakeholders—customers, ownership, the organization as a whole, internal teams and departments and, lastly, the individuals themselves.

Mistake 5) Leave out the “accountability” piece.  (Don’t bother figuring out who’s doing what …just wing it!)

The best way to make sure people are truly part of the solution is to make sure they leave the meeting having committed to doing something. Detailed discussions should be had around questions like these: What steps must we take to reach the objective? Who will be doing what, and by when? How will we measure our progress?

For more on this topic: Preview 5 Questions Every Leader Must Ask, a video-based training program from CRM Learning. Based on the book “Leadership Made Simple” by Ed Oakley and Doug Krug, the program teaches a simple framework for facilitating a collaborative session and successfully engaging your team to address any workplace challenge (be it a problem or a new project). For more information on “Leadership Made Simple”, visit Enlightened Leadership Solutions.

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)

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.


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