Managing Meeting Madness

Meetings. We can’t avoid them. They soak up most of our day, yet too often they’re not effective.

Some of us spend our day managing meeting madness; attending one unproductive meeting after the other.

But it doesn’t need to be this way.

By learning to prepare, pre-position and plan your meetings the productivity of yourself and your attendees can be significantly increased.

Unproductive meetings result when the participants are either:

  • Ignorant: don’t know why they’re there
  • Arrogant: don’t care why they‘re there
  • Alienated: don’t “show” (they might be there in body only)

For any meeting to be successful and productive, the participants need to be:

  • Informed: know why they’re there
  • Included: play a role in the meeting and outcomes
  • Inspired: own the meeting outcomes and outputs

So how can this be achieved?

Here are some starters:

  1. The 80/20 rule – ensuring all preparation is done in advance allows the meeting to focus on decision making and outcomes
  2. Connect with the participants beforehand explaining why they’ll be there and what’s expected of them before, during and after. Chunking information helps
  3. Ensure your meeting focuses on high priority discussion or it will be filled with low priority discussion
  4. Alternate the chair – allows you to focus on other meeting aspects and become an observer
  5. Cross-pollinate from other teams – invite others to your meetings and hear their observations and what works. Have your participants attend other meetings and report back. Success is built on success.
  6. Use WINs reports – Work in Progress, Issues, Next Week’s priorities. Helps keep a record and ensures team consistency.
  7. Embrace Emotional Intelligence – learn it and role model being self aware, self-managed, socially-aware and relationship-focused

Following these simple guidelines will ensure that your meetings are productive and effective. Who knows, they might even become a place where creativity, innovation and fun flourish.

Now that’s an interesting idea!

The Business Of Fasting: Insights and Outcomes

Last week Josephine and I presented a breakfast seminar to a range of business owners on The Business Of Fasting: Transforming Health Vitality and Prosperity For You and Your Business.

It was a lively session with plenty of questions and interest from those who attended. For many the conversation continues!

It’s always interesting to hear how others respond and reflect on our seminars and it is even more rewarding when participants share the outcomes and highlight how significant they are for themselves and the people they work with.

One of our participants shared the following observations from the session and has kindly allowed us to reproduce them. Not only does it make great reading, but it highlights the key points that we were seeking to share in our session.

Thanks, again to our hosts, Austbrokers Countrywide.

Summary of the key points from the seminar.

1. To Fast means to hold strong, to strengthen, and should be considered and implemented in a business sense, in order to achieve greater success in your business.

2. Go through the Pain of Change in order to achieve success.

3. Business is based on functions, so you need the harmony of the functions to achieve success, in the same sense as you need a harmonious body.

4. How do you track and monitor the health of your business – track to the end game and avoid getting sidetracked on the little things (maintain the purpose)

5. Maintain the focus on achieving the purpose for clarity of decision making.

6. The function must add value, challenge the function to ensure that it forms an integral part of the end game (purpose for being in business)

7. The foundation of all business are based on trust and accountability – do the functions all trust each other and are they accountable to each other?

8. 80/20 rule

9. Add value and make it less about you and more about them (client / other functions of the business) – consider and examine what do you add as part of the whole.

10. What can you stop doing to add greater value?

11. Does one function need to mentor another to achieve the goal / end game?

12. What is the one thing you can do that will have a profound result?

13. Two key attributes of a business leader – reflect on what has happened and proactively anticipate what will happen

The Business of Fasting: Transforming Health, Vitality and Prosperity For You and Your Business

We are pleased to announce a free seminar upon to the public that will allow us share our experiences on undergoing an extended water fast.

Fasting is often seen as the most effective way to cleanse and regenerate our body.

The principles of fasting are also acknowledged as one of the most optimum ways to maintain overall health, vitality and wellbeing. Fasting can, and does, enable us to enjoy a sense of prosperity in terms of our health.

But fasting can give us many more benefits, not only in terms of our health, but also in terms of our understanding about what is truly important to us in all aspects of our life.

In this engaging and intriguing session we will share:

  • Learnings on a literal and personal level: physically in terms of the body; mentally, in terms of the mind; and emotionally, in terms of vitality, energy and self-awareness
  • Learnings on a metaphorical and organisational level in the context of managing their consultancy, serving organisations and engaging with clients
  • The vital elements required to build and maintain a business and what it takes to continually grow the business for longevity and survival

Our insights and observations will provide an understanding that:

  • The simple things you do actually brings the most profound results
  • It is important to know what you are doing and why you are doing it
  • Just as the body is based on functions (and has vital organs) so too are organisations

Whilst not advocating or encouraging participants to take on an extended water fast, we will, by simply sharing our observations and imparting our knowledge, will seek to encourage participants to begin thinking about making small, but necessary, incremental changes to their lives.

An important part of our client engagements is to seek to empower people by inspiring them to question what is the kind of health and vitality they want to achieve for themselves, their business and their professional relationships.

You will come away from this session with valuable knowledge that has the potential to improve your personal health and wellbeing and to clarify your organisation’s focus and mission.

We’d love to see you there so please find full details here.

We thank our friends at Austbrokers Countrywide for sponsoring this seminar.

If you can’t make this session but feel that there are key messages for you or your business to learn, then please contact us to arrange a time for us to speak at your organisation.

Story Work: Letting Stories Do the Work For You

Throughout history societies, communities and groups have relied on stories as a way of bonding, sharing traditions, expressing beliefs and customs and to simply learn. Much of our culture can be found expressed in our stories. And, just as our stories come from culture, they can also change our culture.

In the societies, communities and groups in which we’re a part of today, stories can take on a whole new level of richness and purpose. This is particularly evident in the stories that arise in our organisations, our businesses and our institutions of learning.

Basically stories can serve to:

  • Establish, reinforce and guide strategic direction
  • Allow us to make better decisions
  • Influence outcomes
  • Be a beacon for the future

So stories, when used in these ways, become far more than just storytelling. They become story work and they can do so many things for us as we seek to mobilise, engage and inspire the people with whom we come in contact.

Stories make it possible for a group of people to make sense of something that is fluid and changing.

Stories also allow information from an organisation (whether its a business institution or a learning institution) to guide and influence the learning within that organisation.

Furthermore, the simple art of sharing stories supports team building and strengthens common understanding in the participants.

How to make a start? Simply tell a story. Quite often you will get a story in return.

So embrace the power of stories and become enfolded in the work they can do for you.

New Year “re-solutions” – Lifestyle Transitions (Part 2)

Posted by Simon 31 December 2010
Filed under Lifestyle Transitions, News & Events, Observations & Insights.

When faced with a Lifestyle Transition, many of us don’t realise its full impact until too late. Hence, outcomes are rarely maximised. Many of us don’t even realise that it is an opportunity to grow and renew: to re-solve.  Others aren’t sure as to how to approach the transition and are left floundering with misaligned goals, an unachievable action plan and unfulfilled potential.

It is these transitions in our life, whether by design or by circumstance, that present us with a significant chance to change and transform and to begin to bring some major achievement to fruition. They should be approached not with caution but with enthusiasm, not with indifference but with commitment.

But there are other aspects that need to be considered when embracing and optimising a lifestyle transition. These aspects include a thorough appreciation of who you are and what is important to you as an individual, where you have come from and the skills you have acquired along the way. This appreciation needs to be coupled with an understanding of what it is that you are seeking to achieve and how best to utilise the situation that you’re currently in.

You will then be able to develop a strategy and make a plan so that you may capitalise on your current circumstances. This will position you to make informed decisions, focus on your future and clarify your aspirations and goals.

My work with individuals encountering lifestyle transitions has highlighted the need to provide a time for reflection on the past as well as an opportunity to look at the present with clarity of thought and an acknowledgement and acceptance of your hidden skills and talents. This allows a certainty, a sharper perspective and a wider field of vision when looking towards the future.

If you are keen to learn more about moving beyond setting simple “New Year Resolutions” to successfully embracing a “Lifestyle Transition” please join me for an experiential and interactive workshop that will enable you to transition, reposition and take the next steps.

For full details please refer the Lifestyle Transitions flyer or contact us on

New Year Resolutions – New Year “re-solutions” (Part 1)

Posted by Simon 29 December 2010
Filed under Lifestyle Transitions, News & Events, Observations & Insights.

For many of us, this is a time for tradition. But it is not necessarily a tradition that brings fulfilment. Often many of us, if we were really honest, are left with a sense of emptiness and un-fulfilment. We follow the same tradition leading up to the festive season, overindulge during the festive season, engage in the same conversations with the same people throughout and then seem to always get the same outcomes. For many the outcome is increased disappointment and regret at “what has been”. For others it may be increased frustration and anxiety at sensing a widening gulf between where they are and “what could be”.

Perhaps it is outcomes such as these that have led to the heightened significance of another tradition that often takes place at this time of year:  New Year Resolutions.

Typically, these resolutions encompass a decision as to some future action and are often accompanied by a strong intent and considerable bravado. The fact is, however, these resolutions are seldom achieved, rarely adhered to and often unremembered the morning after the night before when they were proclaimed.

Why is that?

Perhaps we would have greater success at achieving these resolutions if we realised what a resolution was really all about. A resolution is really a re-solution. In other words, it is the act or process of resolving something or breaking it up into its constituent parts or elements. And what is “resolving” other than re-solving something. All this implies that within each of us there are the answers to our questions as well as the clarity that we need to be able to move beyond the burden of “what has been” and to leap the gulf to “what could be”.

To re-solve is to solve again or anew. It is to look at each element of the issue that is the focus of our attention and then to instigate change or transformation to enable a new outcome.

I wonder how often we allow ourselves the opportunity to really look at each element of an issue? By this I mean the deeper causal elements such as “what role am I playing in this situation?” and “how can I take responsibility in this issue?”  Once we are able to drill down to this level we are able to seek to re-solve an issue and then set a resolution to change our situation.

This brings us back to the original source of the word resolution. It comes from the Latin resolutio meaning a loosening, an untying, a relaxation.

So, to achieve the outcome we are seeking, we need to be easier on ourselves rather than harder on ourselves.

Put another way, we need to listen to ourselves rather than ignore ourselves. Obviously this means listening to our bodies in terms of what it requires by way of nutritional inputs. But it also means listening to our spirit and understanding what it requires to remain stimulated and enthused.

Once we are able to do this we will be capable of great achievements; achievements that can’t easily be encapsulated by mere words proclaimed in a “New Year Resolution”.  In fact, we will be capable of actively embracing huge transitions in our life with considerable focus, clarity and certainty.

It is these lifestyle transitions that often are the turning points for many of us and they often are the underlying source of our need to proclaim resolutions in the first place. “I’m going to get my health in order”, “I’m going to get my business back on track”, “I’m going to go back and finish my studies”, “I’m going to settle down and have children”. These are just some of the types of resolutions that get proclaimed (some ever so softly) at this time of year.

But so many of us plan to fail, simply because (as the saying goes) we fail to plan.

To be continued …