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“If you were a fruit, what kind would you want to be?” That was the ice-breaker that kicked off the worst meeting I’ve been a part of. It took 30 minutes for everyone to contribute. The meeting ran 25 minutes long. Not only was it a complete waste of time, by the end I felt like I owed the company stockholders an apology just for attending.

In general, I tend to enjoy work meetings, but many business professionals dislike them – and often with good reason. Some detest them. Others bemoan their lack of ability to get any “real work” done when meetings pile up. Even the late Peter Drucker considered meetings a necessary evil.

Poorly run meetings can be exasperating. But productive meetings are essential for collaboration, decision-making and team effectiveness. Meetings are also expensive and can waste considerable time due to disorganization, lack of discipline and ambiguity. These best practices can help your meeting stand out, whether you are an organizer, presenter or participant – both for in-person and multi-site.

meeting-silhouette

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Becoming Excellent

November 16, 2015

Excellence is a blessing and a curse. It’s always a noble pursuit. But it can be intimidating as well. With so much information and many high profile examples of what excellence looks like, how can we contribute in a significant way?

Regardless of what you aspire to do, excellence is a worthy goal. But it probably won’t be your starting point. So how do you get there? Try this.

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When I first starting studying leadership years ago, I’d find myself in conversations with friends and invariably a leadership challenge they were experiencing would come up. Sometimes, I’d even know how to solve it. I’d usually reference a book or an idea I had recently studied. Sometimes in my enthusiasm, I’d even go out and purchase the resource for them. Unfortunately, when I followed up a few weeks later to see what had happened, they had rarely bothered to look at what I had provided them.

Several years later, I got a consulting assignment to develop a plan to significantly improve an organization’s corporate culture. In fact, I was told this was my chance to “really shape the project.” I spent the next few months analyzing employee survey data, referencing strategic plans and carefully crafting a solution. Finally I got to present my plan to a senior client in a boardroom meeting and was thrilled when he accepted it. Now it was time to get to work. But much to my chagrin, a bigger problem soon emerged: no one wanted to take responsibility for seeing the plan through.

These experiences have taught and confirmed for me a simple but poignant lesson: you can’t want something for other people more than they want it for themselves. It doesn’t matter how much you care if they don’t.

Caring Hands

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Powerful Question #7

July 3, 2013

Question Mark 2Dale Carnegie‘s 4th principle for becoming a friendlier person is, “become genuinely interested in other people.” Carnegie explained it like this: “I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish.”

Take a moment to think of someone important to you (e.g. boss, spouse, customer, etc.).

What is one thing he or she wants that may not be particularly important to you?

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