Effective Meetings – 4 Tips for Great Meetings
Most of us dread going to meetings. Today I’ve got 4 tips for you that will help you lead effective meetings that stand out above everyone else’s.

Effective Meetings – 4 Tips for Great Meetings

Most of us dread going to meetings because we feel like they’re going to be a waste of our time. Today I’ve got 4 tips for you that will help you lead effective meetings that stand out above everyone else’s.

When I was a young Lieutenant in the Air Force I was talking to one of the other Lieutenants. He said, “I try to keep all of my meetings to an hour or less. I feel like any meeting that runs over an hour isn’t productive”. Looking at my experiences at the time, I found that I agreed with that philosophy. This became one of the main guidelines I used for meetings throughout my career. It’s not always possible to keep a meeting to an hour or less. Here are 4 tips to have an effective meeting, no matter how long it is.

Effective Meetings Tip #1 – Have a Clear Purpose

The most important tip for effective meetings is to have a clear purpose. Make sure everyone coming to the meeting knows that purpose. Meetings sometimes drag on because attendees bring up topics that aren’t related to the purpose. People often see an opportunity to handle an issue while others are together in the room. As the meeting leader, it’s our job to keep the meeting on purpose and avoid extraneous conversations.

We need to make sure we’re calling a meeting for the right reasons. Meetings are for making decisions or bringing together work that individuals can’t complete on their own. All too often we end up doing work at the meeting that should have been prepared ahead of time. This can prevent us achieving the purpose of the meeting and often is a waste of time for the attendees. Sometimes it’s necessary to get a group together to complete the work that will support a decision. In this case, we must be clear that the team will present this work to support a decision in another meeting.

Effective Meetings Tip #2 – Have an Agenda

Creating an agenda for a meeting is more work up front, but it pays off during the meeting. Add each decision required to the agenda. Also, include any presentations or information that support those decisions. It’s important to set not just a time limit for the meeting overall, but also a time limit for each item on the agenda. There are times that should extend a topic because it is critical to making a decision. As the leader of the meeting, it’s our job to make sure that we stick to the agenda and keep things moving in line with the meeting purpose.

Effective Meetings Tip #3 – Manage the Guest List

To successfully achieve the purpose of our meeting, we need to make sure that we have invited all of the people who have a stake in the outcome of the meeting. The meeting organizer should invite the decision maker, presenters, and people impacted by the decision. It’s also important to keep people out of the meeting who don’t have a contribution to make. In large organizations, people will often show up to a meeting because they heard it was happening. These individuals sometimes cloud the information being presented by the meeting and often derail the agenda because they aren’t up to speed on the topic. The meeting organizer’s job must bring all the right people to the meeting and keep the wrong people out.

Effective Meetings Tip #4 – Don’t Speculate!

Speculating about facts or information can impact the decision-making process and often result in bad decisions that are costly or time-intensive to fix.  When leading a meeting we must avoid speculating about facts and discourage others from speculating. If information critical to making the decision has not presented, we need to go get it. We may be able to do this in real-time. If not, adjourn the meeting and reconvene later when the facts are available. Speculation often turns into circular arguments and people trying to prove each other wrong. Taking the time to get and verify the information we need will result in better decision-making.

These 4 tips have been mostly focused on someone who is a meeting organizer. If you find yourself in a meeting that is going off the rails, try to use some of these tips to help the leader get things back on track. Following these tips will help your next meeting be productive and efficient. Your teammates will thank you for being considerate of their time and making it a valuable experience.

Employee motivation is a challenge for every leader. So how do we get our team members to do things that need to be done without being told?

Employee Motivation

One of the reasons we wanted to become leaders was so that we could take on challenges we couldn’t achieve by ourselves. Employee motivation is a challenge for every leader. So how do we get our team members to do things that need to be done without being told?

This week we’re answering a question from Pete. He says, “One thing I’m dealing with right now is trying to motivate people who don’t show initiative.”  To help Pete out with this issue, I’m going to give 4 tips for employee motivation.

Employee Motivation Tip #1 – Understand the Psychology

First, it’s important to remember the psychology of motivation. We need to understand the concepts of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Everyone is both extrinsically and intrinsically motivated to some degree. Extrinsic motivation is motivation by external rewards, whether that’s money, a bonus, time off or whatever the individual desires. Intrinsic motivation is the rewards that comes internally from feeling the satisfaction of doing a job well done. As a leader, you need to understand how each of your team members is motivated and in what proportion. This will require getting to know each team member! Once you know what makes them tick, you can use that knowledge to your advantage when applying the other three tips.

Employee Motivation Tip #2 – Appeal to Intrinsic Motivation

Taking advantage of intrinsic motivation is tricky. You now know more about your team, their hopes and dreams, likes and dislikes. You can use that information to get excite them. Everyone has something they want to see done better in their workplace. Encourage your team members to talk about improvements they would like to see. When you overhear them talking to each other, challenge them to follow through on their ideas.

Employee Motivation Tip #3 – Use Your Resources

To use extrinsic motivation, Use the resources you have. You may not have money for bonuses, but almost every organization has a recognition program. If you don’t, create one. Make initiative a heavily weighted criteria when giving out awards if you can. Get creative. Time off, work from home, flexible schedules, whatever you can think of. Remember, that to incentivize any behavior, the incentive structure has to match what you say you value. If you want to incentivize initiative, recognition and rewards have to reflect that. You can’t give out awards for BLANK and not recognize the people who took initiative to try to make positive change.

Employee Motivation Tip #4 – Build a Culture

Finally, and probably most importantly, we need to be sure that we are setting up a culture on our team that fosters and rewards initiative. This requires some honest introspection on our part as the leader. When our team members show initiative, how do we react? Our reactions, both conscious and subconscious, verbal and non-verbal have a lot to do with how our team will behave in the future. Patience and open-mindedness are key here. If their work is acceptable but not the way you prefer it was done, you have to find ways to build on their work without shutting it down.

If we want our team members to show initiative we have to show them that their efforts won’t be wasted. We need to get to know them as people and what makes them tick. As leaders we have to encourage them to follow-up on their ideas and we also need to use our resources to recognize and reward them appropriately. Most important we need to show that we are open to the things that they show initiative on. Even if it’s not the most important thing on our list or the outcome isn’t perfect.  We must appreciate our team members’ effort if we want them to show initiative. Keep doing that and your team members will keep taking on new challenges without you having to ask them to!

In this workshop, you will learn how to approach self, career, relationships and resources in a holistic way to enhance ALL of the aspects of your life. We will teach you how to leave behind the old attitudes and limiting self-talk that keep you from having what you really want in life.

Level Up Las Vegas! Workshop

Do you feel like there is something bigger for you?

Are you looking to live a full, vibrant life and you know that there is something holding you back?

Are stuck in a box with a certain aspect of your life and need to break out?

You have what it takes!  Sometimes all you need is someone to help show you how to do it.

In this workshop, you will learn how to approach self, career, relationships and resources in a holistic way to enhance ALL of the aspects of your life.  We will teach you how to leave behind the old attitudes and limiting self-talk that keep you from having what you really want in life.

JOIN US November 12th for a day of powerful PERSONAL DISCOVERY that will set you on the path to life you’ve always dreamed of!!

This event is an incredible value to spend an entire day with three experienced coaches for just $299. Sign up by October 31st and receive a $50 early bird discount on your admission.

Purchase tickets on EventBrite at:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/level-up-las-vegas-tickets-28567710792.

Attendance is limited to 30 participants so sign up now!

Our three coaches for this event, Jason, Lisa and Robyn have made their own journeys by breaking through career, personal and financial obstacles and are dedicated to helping others live extraordinary lives.

If you have any questions, or are wondering if this workshop is right for you, feel free to schedule a 15 minute session with one of our coaches using the links below.

Meet the Level Up Las Vegas! Coaches:

Jason LeDuc is the Founder of Evil Genius Leadership Consultants and served proudly for two decades in the United States Air Force. He retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2015. As an instructor at the Air War College Distance Learning Program he prepared 7000+ students to accept strategic leadership positions.

Jason LeDuc – Leadership Coach, Evil Genius Leadership Consultants

Jason LeDuc is the Founder of Evil Genius Leadership Consultants and served proudly for two decades in the United States Air Force. He retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2015. As an instructor at the Air War College Distance Learning Program he prepared 7000+ students to accept strategic leadership positions.

Schedule an appointment with Jason at: https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=12838254

 

 

 

 

 

Lisa Chastain has spent over fifteen years advising and coaching people from all walks of life. Her current life passion is teaching others to create abundance in their life by taking control of their financial lives. Lisa has helped hundreds of people find purpose, passion and take control of their own destinies. She is the co-creator of Level Up and will be a co-facilitator as well. You can learn more about Lisa at www.linkedin.com/in/lisachastain.

Lisa Chastain – Lisa Chastain Coaching

Lisa Chastain has spent over fifteen years advising and coaching people from all walks of life.  Her current life passion is teaching others to create abundance in their life by taking control of their financial lives.  Lisa has helped hundreds of people find purpose, passion and take control of their own destinies.  She is the co-creator of Level Up and will be a co-facilitator as well.  You can learn more about Lisa at www.linkedin.com/in/lisachastain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robyn Eckersley coaches clients around the country to build legacies of compassion and philanthropic impact. She loves working with motivated Changemakers who are ready to take on the challenge of making this world a better place! You can learn more about Robyn at www.robyn.coach. Robyn Eckersley – Robyn Eckersley Coaching

Robyn Eckersley coaches clients around the country to build legacies of compassion and philanthropic impact. She works with motivated Changemakers to take on the challenge of making this world a better place! Learn more about Robyn at www.robyn.coach.

Schedule an appointment with Robyn at: https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=12337521&appointmentType=2016960

This week we're going to shift the focus to a way that we can act courageously to complement the mindset we've started to develop. Avoiding groupthink is a problem that every team faces and it takes courageous leaders and followers to point out when it occurs and correct it.

Avoiding Groupthink – Video Guide

I hope everyone had a peaceful Memorial Day weekend and got to spend time with family and friends as we all remember the sacrifices that great men and women made in service of our nation. We’re wrapping up our month discussing topics about being courageous leaders. So far we’ve mostly talked about how to get in a healthy frame of mind to help us act courageously so that we can solve problems and make decisions courageously. This week we’re going to shift the focus to a way that we can act courageously to complement the mindset we’ve started to develop. Avoiding groupthink is a problem that every team faces and it takes courageous leaders and followers to point out when it occurs and correct it.

Groupthink occurs when members of the team are afraid to speak up or hold back information that is critical to the discussion because there may be social consequences for speaking out against the group. It can be very challenging for many people to contradict a position that the group has arrived at, especially if we are new in the group or we think that what we have to say will be unpopular with the other team members. As leaders, our job is to watch out for groupthink on out teams and cut through it to make sure that we’re getting all of the relevant information to make decisions.

In this week’s video, Jason discusses why avoiding groupthink is important for every team and describes some methods that we can use to recognize and avoid groupthink.

Avoiding Groupthink as Team Members

  • Speak up!
  • Include all relevant information
  • Be respectful of others
  • Employ Intellectual Honesty
  • Encourage others to speak up

Avoiding Groupthink as Leaders

  • Be prepared and research the topic
  • Understand different stakeholder interests
  • Insist that assertions are supported with evidence
  • Ask probing questions
  • Actively solicit information and perspective from quiet individuals
  • Consider the decision carefully before implementing

It’s also true that in many cases a group can reach a decision with a consensus without getting caught up in groupthink. Just because our team might come to an answer quickly and unanimously doesn’t mean that we have encountered a groupthink situation. As leaders, what we really want to ensure is that the group arrived at the result through a rational decision-making process and employed intellectual honesty in coming to a resolution.

Photo Credit: By Shane T. McCoy (U.S. Marshals Office of Public Affairs) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As we continue with our May theme of Courageous Leadership, this week Jason talks about the idea of intellectual honesty and how it is different from simply telling the truth. Intellectual honesty has a basis in problem solving but can be applied to make well-informed decisions in a variety of leadership situations. Striving to be intellectually honest helps us ensure that we have considered all factors when making a leadership decision. Developing our team members to be intellectually honest gives them the ability to provide depth to their work that will lead to solid decision making. In the video, Jason talks about how to differentiate between our interests and our positions and how that distinction relates to intellectual honesty.

Intellectual Honesty – Video Guide

As we continue with our May theme of Courageous Leadership, this week Jason talks about the idea of intellectual honesty and how it is different from simply telling the truth. Intellectual honesty has a basis in problem solving but can be applied to make well-informed decisions in a variety of leadership situations. Striving to be intellectually honest helps us ensure that we have considered all factors when making a leadership decision. Developing our team members to be intellectually honest gives them the ability to provide depth to their work that will lead to solid decision-making. In the video, Jason talks about how to differentiate between our interests and our positions and how that distinction relates to intellectual honesty.

Components of Intellectual Honesty

  • Not letting beliefs interfere with seeing the truth
  • Including all relevant facts in our decision
  • Presenting facts to others without bias or misleading
  • Giving credit to others for their work

Source: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_honesty

Being aware of these concepts as well as our own biases helps us to make decisions based on all of the relevant facts and not just on the ones that support our position while leaving out facts that go against our argument. Even if we are not the decision maker, we can apply the principles of intellectual honesty when we present information to others who are making a leadership decision.

Jason goes on to talk about some practical tips you can use from Good to Great by Jim Collins in order to help you and your team adopt the principles of intellectual honesty in your day-to-day activities. Applying intellectually honest principles to our information gathering and decision-making processes helps us to make better decisions that stand up to external scrutiny and stand the test of time.

Photo Credit: By European People’s Party [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Building consensus is one of the most important skill a leader can have in their leadership toolbox. Leaders frequently need to advocate for their ideas and persuade others that their approach is the best solution for everyone involved. Building consensus provides a way to get others to buy-in to our ideas and to participate in the process of turning them into fully developed solutions that address the problem or situation.

Building Consensus – Video Guide

Building consensus is one of the most important skills a leader can have in their leadership toolbox. Leaders frequently need to advocate for their ideas and persuade others that their approach is the best solution for everyone involved. Building consensus provides a way to get others to buy-in to our ideas and to participate in the process of turning them into fully developed solutions that address the problem or situation. One of the most important ideas to understand about consensus is that it is more than just bringing about the majority of the group to our side. In a true consensus, all members of the group agree with and accept the idea or concept, not just most of the group. While it can be difficult to bring a whole group of people around to our way of thinking, there are some tools that we can use to help in building consensus among that group to gain support for our ideas.

Tools for Building Consensus

  • Find areas of agreement early
  • Separate interests from positions
  • Engage in Active Listening
  • Ask thorough, thoughtful, open-ended questions
  • Give others the opportunity to speak about impacts

Building consensus is definitely challenging, especially when multiple parties interests and positions come into play, but there are some advantages that come along with putting this effort in up front. Primarily, once consensus has been achieved among the group, it is likely that the members of the group will be invested in the solution arrived at and will advocate for it to others and strive to implement it fully. This can help in educating the rest of the work force or other organizations as to why any changes are important as well as gain their support because their interests were represented in the decision-making process. Building a consensus is almost always difficult, and not always possible, but definitely worth the effort when it can be achieved.

Photo Credit: By John Trumbull [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I'm really excited to be a guest on the #SocialPowWow Twitter Chat this Thursday at 11:30 AM Eastern Time. Ancita Satija hosts #SocialPowWow to discuss how the Social Web is rewriting the rules of business and connect with India based Startups, Marketers, PR & Digital professionals. Join us to talk about how social media can be an effective vehicle for leadership, connecting with communities, and how to leverage specific social media networks for effective leadership. Learn how leadership and social media are intertwined in the digital age and how you can incorporate excellent social media practices into your leadership style.

Leadership and Social Media on #SocialPowWow

Leadership and Social Media on #SocialPowWow

I’m really excited to be a guest on the #SocialPowWow Twitter Chat this Thursday at 11:30 AM Eastern Time. Ancita Satija hosts #SocialPowWow to discuss how the Social Web is rewriting the rules of business and connect with India based Startups, Marketers, PR & Digital professionals. Join us to talk about how social media can be an effective vehicle for leadership, connecting with communities, and how to leverage specific social media networks for effective leadership. Learn how leadership and social media are intertwined in the digital age and how you can incorporate excellent social media practices into your leadership style.

#SocialPowWow on twitter

 

 

Spring is a time for revitalization, rebirth and reinventing and the longer, warmer days give us an opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been and where we want to go. We'll be adopting these themes in all of our content for the month April at Evil Genius Leadership. We'll be showing you ways to bounce back from mistakes, how to cultivate critical partnerships and how to build consensus on your team to give your leadership skills a shot in the arm and recharge your team. Before we dive into those ideas we want to invite you to join our April Leadership Challenge and do something to either give your career a kind or rebirth and revitalization or help re-energize your team to meet new challenges

Rebirth and Revitalization – April Leadership Challenge Video

Spring is a time for revitalization, rebirth and reinventing,  and the longer, warmer days give us an opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been and where we want to go. We’ll be adopting these themes in all of our content for the month April at Evil Genius Leadership. We’ll be showing you ways to bounce back from mistakes, how to cultivate critical partnerships and how to build consensus on your team to give your leadership skills a shot in the arm and recharge your team. Before we dive into those ideas we want to invite you to join our April Leadership Challenge and do something to either give your career a kind or rebirth and revitalization or help re-energize your team to meet new challenges

Rebirth and Revitalization – April Leadership Challenge

For April we’re asking everyone to think about something you’d like to revitalize in your life or some way you’d like to reinvent yourself or make some personal growth happen.  Maybe your team used to have a social activity on a regular basis that was really beneficial but fell by the wayside. Bringing that back could be a great way to revitalize the connections and relationships on your team. Or maybe you’ve been wanting to learn more about a particular topic important to your team and really become an expert in it. Set a goal to reinvent yourself as an expert in an area of knowledge that no one else on the team has. These don’t need to be grandiose or complete transformations, just some conscious little changes to bring you in a new direction.

We’ve got lots more coming up in April about revitalization, reinvention and growth, both our own and others, so check back to get more ideas!

Photo Credit: By Fancibaer (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

developing a culture of initiative on your team where your team members solve problems and address situations before they come to you us a great way to keep these monkeys off of your back. Every problem that a member of your team can solve without having to come to you for guidance is one less monkey for you to handle.

Initiative & Keeping Monkeys off Your Back – Video Guide

One of the most widely read Harvard Business Review Articles ever written is from back in 1999 and talks about how leaders often assume problems that members of their team should be taking care of. If you’d like to read it, you can find it here. The article has a lot of great rules to implement for what to do as a leader if someone tries to let one of these monkeys jump off of their back and on to yours, but developing a culture of initiative on your team where your team members solve problems and address situations before they come to you us a great way to keep these monkeys off of your back. Every problem that a member of your team can solve without having to come to you for guidance is one less monkey for you to handle.

Ways to Develop Initiative

  • First, don’t just assign your team members tasks or duties, give them problems to solve or areas of responsibility
  • Give each team member appropriate authority to handle their assigned problems or responsibilities.
  • Encourage creative and innovative solutions and allow your team to pursue these solutions within the authority you have given them
  • And it’s really important to allow your team to make mistakes and learn from them. People can learn more from a few false starts than from immediate success. It also can help refine their ideas into the best possible solution by seeing what doesn’t work

The key to following all of these tips is to understand the degree of trust that you have in your team members and the amount of trust they have placed in you. in the video, Jason discusses both of these kinds of trust in detail and how you should take the amount of trust between you and your team in order to apply the tips above.

 

Photo Credit: By Patricedward (Personal Photo) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Just like our homes can get cluttered as the year goes on, our teams can get cluttered with misplaced priorities, ineffective procedures and tasks that no longer serve a valuable purpose. While we should always be on the lookout for waste and activities that are no longer serving our purpose or helping us achieve our mission, planning a spring cleaning activity can help us get focused on making improvements without getting caught up in our normal day-to-day activities.

Spring Cleaning – Video Guide

Just like our homes can get cluttered as the year goes on, our teams can get cluttered with misplaced priorities, ineffective procedures and tasks that no longer serve a valuable purpose. While we should always be on the lookout for waste and activities that are no longer serving our purpose or helping us achieve our mission, planning a spring cleaning activity can help us get focused on making improvements without getting caught up in our normal day-to-day activities.

Depending on how long it has been since you last did a thorough assessment of the activities that your team does on a daily basis, you may find out that there are so many things to review that it makes sense to tackle the most important ones first and come back at a later time to address the others. If you’re wondering where to get started on reviewing a task, procedure or activity, here are a few questions you can ask yourself and your team to determine how to proceed:

Spring Cleaning Questions

  • Does anyone use the results of this task?
  • Does this activity take a large proportion of work time, but is used infrequently?
  • Does the information produced by this process give us insight about our mission or our team, or is it outdated?
  • Is there someone on another team or elsewhere in the organization that uses the outputs?

One of the most challenging parts of a spring cleaning activity is to determine what course of action to follow after we’ve done our assessment. In the video Jason talks about how to determine which tasks to keep, which ones to get rid of and some ways to approach improving on a process that you need to keep, but is inefficient or wasteful.

Photo Credit: By Papypierre1 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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