Five Meeting Attitudes to Avoid

7K0A0021If you have participated in a few bad meetings, you must have experienced at least one of the following attitudes.  Here they are and how to fix them.

1) Many leaders think they are meeting experts.

Many tell me that they know how to hold a meeting.  Actually, all they do is host a party.  They invite guests, provide treats, and preside over a conversation.  People talk.  People eat.  Moreover, nothing happens.  Alternatively, if they somehow manage to reach an agreement, no one implements it.

> What to do: Learn how to lead a real meeting.  Schedule a workshop or buy a book.  When results really matter, hire a facilitator.  Recognize that there are modern tools that help people make methodical progress toward results.  These tools are practical and easy to use.  Of course, you have to know what they are in order to use them.  Contact us at Transformative Leadership Group for more details of our “Dynamic Meeting Process”.

2) Many leaders think they are inspiring.

Many people believe that long-winded announcements impress others.  Actually, it’s the opposite.  A long lecture quickly becomes a boring (and sometimes offensive) harangue.  Why?  Most employees want an active role in contributing to the business, and thus listening to a speech feels like a waste of time.  If you don’t get feedback from a trusted source afterwards you are prone to recreate the issue time and again.

> What to do: Design meetings that give the attendees opportunities to contribute. Listen intently and make notes.  Plan & ask questions that help direct thinking & discussion towards a goal or specific results, when necessary.  Use activities that help people make decisions.  Distribute announcements in letters, memos, or E-mails.  On the other hand, if you must use a meeting, keep announcements brief (less than a few minutes).  Trust the feedback you receive from others and make changes.

3) Many Leaders think others agree with them.

Many people rely on nods, smiles, and eye contact to measure acceptance.  Actually, some employees will do anything to appease a boss.  In addition, if the boss seems to be upset, the employees will become even more agreeable.  Then, once the meeting ends, the employees will do one of three things: 1) forget the lecture, 2) ignore the message, or 3) sabotage the idea.

> What to do: Conduct meetings by a process that everyone considers fair.  Use consensus to reach agreements and make decisions, where appropriate.  If the decision must be centralized, be transparent and explain the logic and outcome.  People will accept decisions that they helped make.

4) Many leaders think others are clairvoyant.

Many people call meetings without an agenda expecting that everyone will arrive expecting them to share their vision for what needs to be done.  Actually, everyone brings his or her private hopes, fears, and vision to the meeting.  Generally, without a clear agenda, the result is something between chitchat and chaos, depending upon the complexity of the issue.  An agenda should be liberating not restrictive.  We believe that it is possible to collaborate without an agenda but that may not be so with a scheduled meeting.  The ability of the facilitator to manage the conversation will help drive the agenda decision.

> What to do: Determine the need for the meeting.  Write out your goal for the meeting.  If necessary, prepare an agenda that is so complete someone else could use it to run the meeting without you.  Specify each step and provide a time budget.  Send the agenda at least two days before the meeting so that the attendees can use it to prepare.  Call key participants before the meeting to check if they have questions or want to talk about the agenda.

5) Many leaders think meetings are necessary.

Many people respond to every emergency, surprise, or twitch by calling a meeting.  Actually, a meeting is a special (and expensive) process.  It should be used only to obtain results that require the efforts of a group of normally unrelated people working as a team.  A meeting is NOT a universal cure for everything.  Meetings held for the wrong reasons waste everyone’s time.

> What to do: Challenge every meeting for its ability to earn a profit for your business.  That is, make sure the value of the results is greater than the cost of holding a meeting.  If any other activity can accomplish the same result, use that other activity.

If you challenge every meeting based on cost versus benefit, you are on the way to greater engagement and profitability, assuming other valid communication methods are used to support the reduction in actual meetings. We can help you develop a new meeting strategy.  Just contact us at Transformative Leadership Group.

 

 

Getting the Open Door Policy Right

Courtesy of Stuart Miles - FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Courtesy of Stuart Miles – FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have noticed over the years that many leaders purport to have an open door policy with their people but in reality, it has become a facade for doing the same old management process.  There are many excuses for this ranging from lack of time to the need for confidentiality being critical.  Some of the reasons are legitimate but they need to be the exception rather than the rule.
If you truly want to have engaged associates then this is a topic that must be taken seriously and have a solid foundation so people know they are being listened and responded to in the work place.  It should be a part of the business DNA as well as the associate handbook.

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Business Tip #8: Telemarketing is NOT the Anti-Christ

Courtesy artztsamui & FreeDigitalPhotos
Courtesy artztsamui & FreeDigitalPhotos

Today, you’ll learn how to use direct mail marketing and, yes, telemarketing to your full advantage.  I know, the word “telemarketing” might as well be four letters, but there is a way to help customers feel like they are getting personal attention and keep them from blocking your number!

With the success direct mail marketing has had and the availability of computers, these can be used as a powerful marketing tool for your success.  Telemarketing is best for high priced, high margin products/services.

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5R’s to Improve Your Team Productivity

Courtesy of Sheela Mohan at  Freedigitalphotos.net
Courtesy of Sheela Mohan at Freedigitalphotos.net

Once in a while there are words that come to mind in the right order that really make sense. This happened this week while listening to a Sunday Morning Sermon.  The words really began to gain some momentum this morning the more I thought on them.  So often we seek new answers to old problems when in reality all we needed to do was to stop, listen and renew, hence the words for today: Remember Renew, Receive, Reinforce and Rejoice.

Remember:  Reflect on the times your team was the most effective in the past.  What were the circumstances of that success and who was providing support and mentoring during that time? So often we forget our past successes when tackling any new project but it is a key to providing positive reinforcement. If you don’t have notes or triggers to remember the details then ask your team members what their recollections were.  Digest the details and see how they can be applied in the new project you are tackling today.  Glean the best of the processes and incorporate them with any new ideas you have for the growth of the team.

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Business Tip #7: Turn Prospects into Customers Overnight!

Thanks to Stuart Miles & FDP
Thanks to Stuart Miles & FDP

Today, I’d like to talk about how to turn prospects into customers and retain them for future marketing to. While, your marketing is doing its job, you need to be working on turning those prospects into customers. There are a few key ways to draw them in and seal the deal.

You need to be:

  • Inviting
  • Informative
  • Enjoyable

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Thinking Out of the Box is NOT a Dead Idea

OK Character 200X200 2013 full“Thinking out of the box” is a term that is over-used, often misunderstood and woefully buzzified.  There are experts in the leadership circles that want this term removed from our vocabulary forever; fortunately, I am not one of those.  This term needs to become more utilized and it needs to be combined with a dose of disruptive thinking so we can make effective proactive changes that allow us to deal with the plethora of difficult issues we are dealing with in business and government today.

When people talk about thinking outside the box, we mean coming up with creative ways to solve problems – new ways to look at things.  We are looking for new ways, processes for how we can do it?  We are looking for new products or services that can advance our businesses to a new level.  In our eagerness to think outside the box we often, forget to understand what the box is and what constraints there are within the boundaries of that box.

First, Let’s Examine the Box

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Business Tip #6: Make it Pop!

Courtesy Vlado at freedigitalphotos.net
Courtesy Vlado at freedigitalphotos.net

There are 5 major components to good advertising copy: (The order of these is essential to success)

  • Command Attention
  • Showcase Benefits of Products/Services
  • Prove the Benefits
  • Persuade People to Embrace the Benefits
  • Call to Action

Advertising is sales in print. So, you need to think about the unique benefits your products/services offer and showcase that in a persuasive way. You need to emphasize results, not features.

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Leadership is All About Action

Courtesy of pinkblue & FreeDigitalPhotos
Courtesy of pinkblue & FreeDigitalPhotos

People respond to good leadership! Period! It is in all aspects of our lives, not just business. A mother is a leader in her home; a son may be leader of a team sport or a daughter the leader of the debate team. A group relies on the person in charge to actually lead them to success. A true leader is highly ethical, honest, trustworthy and respected.

In our society we have leaders and followers. Are we born to one or the other? No! Can you hone your leadership skills? Absolutely! Can you learn to be an excellent follower? Absolutely!

The leaders that I admire seem to have all of these in place:

Business Tip #5: Direct Response or Bust!

Thanks to jscretionzs & FDP
Thanks to jscretionzs & FDP

Direct response marketing is a marketing that demands a direct response from your potential customers. This type of marketing is used to answer questions, present your branding, products and the reason you do what you do. Customers love this, as they are offered the opportunity to response, whether that be in the way of signing up for a newsletter, posting a comment on your site or blog, or purchasing a product from you.

 

So, what does direct response marketing look like?

Well, it comes in many forms, including:

  • Direct mail
  • Print ads
  • Radio and TV ads
  • Coupons or other incentives
  • Telemarketing

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Successful People are Not Always Successful Leaders

Man on rope
Courtesy of chanpipat and FreeDigitalPhotos

Many people assume that if someone is successful it is because they have good leadership skills. Some people assume that if a business is successful it is because it has good leaders. Leadership isn’t something that is particularly easy to pass on to other people. Sometimes a company is successful because a past leader was very skilled as a leader and the current leader simply has kept things running the same as before.

 Great leadership is a rare skill. For most people it doesn’t come naturally. It is amazing how many organizations are successful even though they have only marginally competent people leading them. Many times this is because the structure of the organization helps make up for a leaders short comings.