Let’s Stop Meeting Like This – Please!

What would happen if you made all of your meetings voluntary? Eric Lindblad, vice president and general manager of Boeing’s 747 program did just that. There are no mandatory meetings on Eric’s watch. He wanted people to be there not because of threats or politics but because they wanted to be there.

You may be like Eric, feeling that too many of the meetings you lead are time-wasting, energy-sapping affairs. Most may seem like useless gatherings endured at the expense of your “real work” – meetings that sabotage your organization’s goals and product while wasting human capital.

If this is the case then you’ll want to sign up for our upcoming webinar with Dick and Emily Axelrod. They have the answers for those of us who are frustrated with our present meeting strategy. In this webinar you’ll learn how to:

• Transform meetings into productive work experiences.
• Identify the habits that work for and against energy-producing, time-valued meetings.
• Identify the critical choices that meeting designers, leaders, and contributors make that transform meetings.
• Create a meeting environment where everyone puts their paddle in the water.

Join us on December 16th for Tools to Save Time and Get Things Done and get a head start on reworking your meeting strategy for the New Year. You’ll be happy you joined us when you’re meetings become productive again.

Becoming the Boss

NEW RULES FOR A NEW GENERATION

Lindsey Pollak, author of Becoming the Boss, is a Gen Xer (born between 1965 and 1982), and she will be the first to tell you that Gen Xers are not going to make a huge difference in the world. The reason: there just aren’t that many of them. After the massive boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964), the next generation that will make a significant impact on the world is the equally massive Gen Y, or “millennial” generation (born between 1982 and 2000). Millennials are already stepping into leadership roles and will soon dominate the top ranks in government and business. Becoming the Boss is a manual for members of the millennial generation about to step into leadership positions, if they haven’t done so already.

Advice for Future Leaders

Pollak’s first piece of advice for these future leaders is to be the “CEO of You.” In two chapters (entitled “be” and “be.com”), Pollak describes how to build an offline and online personal brand, covering everything from handshakes to eliminating your online presence of any negative images. She also offers an in-depth step-by-step plan for building the most effective LinkedIn profile.

In other chapters, Pollak covers

  •     Communication. Millennials must also know how to mix high-tech and “old school” communication methods — it’s still important to know how to carry on face-to-face conversations.
  •     Managing. Pollak writes that today’s managers have new challenges, such as dealing with a workforce that is more diverse than ever before. With command-and-control leadership no longer acceptable (or workable), today’s manager must also be more transparent and open with their employees and colleagues than in the past.
  •     Prioritizing. Given the multiple, 24/7 digital forms of communication, generation Y is the “busiest and most stressed out generation in history,” writes Pollak. Effective time and information management is key, and that means being able to prioritize and delegate as well as avoid losing too much energy on stress. One suggestion: cut down on trivial decisions by, for example, laying out your clothes the night before or having the same breakfast every weekday morning. It may not seem like much, but research shows such trivial decisions take a toll.
  •     Connecting. Pollak suggests that millennials looking to move up gather a “rotating advisory board” of about five different types of mentors: traditional mentors, who share their wisdom; co-mentors, who are traditional mentors who teach but also learn from the younger people they are mentoring; sponsors, that is, people who can actually offer you that promotion or work on your behalf; peers, who are in your shoes; and (a very generation-specific suggestion) Mom and/or Dad — as long as they stay in the background!
  •     Continuous growth. Pollak closes the book with a reminder that everyone must continuously strive to stay current and improve. Among her recommendations: Stay humble, commit, change jobs and, a bit surprisingly, “make yourself feel old.” “You’ll be amazed at how fast the next generation sneaks up and you’re the one complaining about ‘kids today,’” Pollak tells her Gen Y readers. The answer: you’ll continue to grow if you develop relationships with interesting people who are “young and hipper than you are.”

Pollak is the author of Getting from College to Career, a book she was inspired to write as a result of her own experiences. In Becoming the Boss, Pollak, an independent consultant and speaker, again builds on her own experiences to lay out a thoughtful and comprehensive overview of the skills and attitudes any millennial will need if they ever have any hopes of becoming the boss.

Don’t Be Blind-Sided in a Crisis

If your company or community was facing a major crisis, who would you want to coach you through it? Someone with experience in dealing with crises of course. How about someone like Bruce Blythe?

Blythe and Crisis Management Institute offered onsite crisis consultations to more than 200 companies in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, as well as for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina in 1992 and 2005, corporate and commercial air crashes, an Ecuadorian jungle rescue of kidnap and ransom hostages 2001,a Coca Cola truck/bus crash in Texas that killed 23 school children in 1989, earthquakes in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and multiple workplace shootings.

With that kind of experience, we just had to invite him to share with our subscribers how they can deal effectively with the crises that come up around them. Here is what Bruce promises to provide during our 60 minute webinar: A Manager’s Guide to Crisis Leadership.

• Crisis Response – Blythe places you in a simulation as an unprepared manager blindsided by an active shooter loose in your building.
• Crisis Preparedness – Blythe then guides you and your teams to analyze foreseeable risks, evaluate existing controls, add new ones, test and re-evaluate a realistic Plan.
• Crisis Leadership – Blythe cites examples/case studies to demonstrate what top-notch leaders would say and do during and after a disaster.
• Quick responses with detailed checklists for managing 9 major incidents.
• How to address victim’s families – dos and don’ts for communicating tragic news with empathy and dignity in person and through representatives.
• How to support employees in returning to work and productivity after a disaster or workplace violence.

So gather your team together on December 2nd at 12:00 pm ET and plan a discussion time after the webinar. Subscribers attend for free, but even if you pay the $49 registration fee that’s a great deal for your whole staff to get crisis management training. Bruce will also be taking time at the end of the session to answer your questions.

Book Review: Out Think

by G. Shawn Hunter

by G. Shawn Hunter

The keys to competitive advantage in leadership used to be etched in stone. A leader was expected to be relentlessly dedicated to a specialty and use intelligence and drive to separate a company from its competitors. Today’s leaders operate in a different environment. It’s one that requires a combination of flexibility and a willingness to work with others. In each chapter of Out Think, author and executive learning expert G. Shawn Hunter presents a key component and techniques to show how to implement ideas that drive the change leaders want in their organizations. This book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

Hunter urges leaders to implement a new process that can accelerate new-product and value-creation pipelines. This is to counteract the “marketquake,” a term coined by Hunter to describe the volatile economic conditions of the current business climate. In Out ThinkHunter provides a number of key ideas, each of which is reinforced by takeaways drawn from the author’s access to top-level executives around the globe.

While subjects such as trust, exploration and collaboration are presented in new ways, executives may want to pay close attention to ideas that don’t normally receive as much coverage in business books. Hunter’s chapter on aspiration is one such example. By enabling team members to combine optimism with a well-articulated goal, Hunter provides leaders with the knowledge to turn their employees into company heroes.

Beyond learning why and how innovation has become the primary driver of successful companies, executives will also learn the key components of innovation and how to implement them in their organizations. With Out Think, any leader can make a measurable difference within their organization to outthink the competition.

Book Review: Thanks for the Feedback

by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen

by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen

We receive feedback every day, but often times we resist or dismiss it. Using feedback is crucial for healthy relationships and professional development. In Thanks for the Feedback, Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen explain why getting feedback is important and offer a powerful framework for interpreting comments, annual evaluations, and unsolicited advice that will enable effective learning. This book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

“Understanding our triggers and sorting out what set them off are the keys to managing our reactions and engaging in feedback conversations with skill,” write Stone and Heen. They identify three triggers that block learning and lead us to become confused or flustered. The first trigger is truth, which is set off by the substance of the feedback. Relationship triggers are the second trigger, which is tripped by the giver of the feedback leading us to switch our focus on the person delivering the message than the feedback. The third trigger is identity, which is when we feel overwhelmed or threatened because feedback has caused our identity to come undone. If you learn to overcome these triggers, you will be able to receive feedback well and use it constructively rather than discard it.

Beyond learning how to effectively receive and use feedback, you will learn how to dismantle distortions and draw boundaries in the face of unrelenting criticism. Furthermore, you will learn how to uncover blind spots so that you can continue to grow with valuable feedback. With Thanks for the Feedback, any professional can develop their career filled with valuable learning to progress to the next level.