Tag Archives: meetings

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formal meetings

Formal Meetings or Hallway Chatter, Which One?

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Many businesses want to make a choice, pivot direction, or start something brand new. The team is assembled. Often within formal meetings. Is that the best idea generator? Is it where the decisions are made?

When the conference room lights are turned out and everyone is gone are there continued discussions happening behind closed doors?

Is there a meeting after the meeting? When the Zoom session is over is there another meeting, a telephone call, or a long email message?

Formal Meetings

Brainstorming sessions can be very productive.

Unfortunately, it often takes advanced facilitation skills to bring everything out. Important items are left unsaid, others are strategic and prearranged to create a specific flow, or worse, they’re selectively designed to navigate towards a predetermined outcome.

Wouldn’t it be great to capture it all?

No manipulation, no behind the scenes strategy, and just open and honest flow?

Some of the best and most truthful ideas come from the hallway chatter. That is when the information isn’t being protected, guarded, or facing criticism.

Hallway Chatter and Cocktail Napkins

Many great ideas and inventions are said to have occurred on a cocktail napkin. Some appear on yellow legal pads, others in an executive portfolio, and still others are written in a spiral bound notebook.

As it turns out, many of the decisions made, policies adopted, and future directions are the product of the conversation outside of the meeting.

They happen when ridicule is less feared and the consequences are only fairy tales or negative fantasies. There seems to be less risk and yet more power.

Pay close attention to the new idea presented in the hallway. Take a look at the cocktail napkin drawing, or what is presented from the ruffled edges of the yellow legal pad.

Often these are the honest ideas and the ones having enough risk to actually spark positive change.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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workplace solutions

Workplace Solutions Are Better Than Problems

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What are you bringing to the meeting? Are you bringing workplace solutions or are you bringing more problems?

There are many purposes for meetings.

Some meetings are informational, some are for brainstorming, and there are some that are specifically for planning. Other types of meetings include meetings for making decisions, following up on previous decisions, or even team-building types of meetings.

Do you come to the meeting prepared to drag in some additional problems or do you come with the intent to suggest solutions? Many might quickly suggest that their intent is to do both.

There may be some risk, though.

Is everyone willing to show their hand?

Workplace Solutions

In a game of cards it is often expected that eventually you’ll show your hand. Timing seems to matter, and so does the idea that what others don’t know gives you more power.

Showing your hand in the workplace may mean you have to risk something. You might risk that your idea will be stolen, that the boss will take credit, or that future outcomes will favor a different team.

It may be the fear of success that halts forward motion. Giving others the power of your idea feels unsafe.

Do you still show it?

Many people are quick to bring forward a problem for discussion. Perhaps it is a good idea to put the same effort into providing possible solutions.

Showing your hand is more than just the right thing to do.

Solutions are more powerful than problems.

Bring some to share.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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measuring information quality

Measuring Information Quality and Outcomes

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Are you a good communicator? Are you or the people around you measuring information quality, and if so, how?

There is a tendency to measure information quality by its likability factor.

In other words, if you like what you hear or read, it is good information. If you don’t agree or dislike the information it is bad.

Information should not be judged by its likability.

Quality Judgement

In the workplace people tend to lack comfort in the meeting that puts them on the spot. The meeting that makes them more responsible and accountable, or the one that examines performance.

The information exchange in these cases may be considered good or bad, yet it is often judged by the likability factor. If you like it, it was good, otherwise it was bad.

If your doctor suggests losing some weight, or the dentist has to recommend a root canal. Was this bad information?

Quality should not be a measurement of its content.

Measuring Information Quality

Workplace leaders can and should take special care when delivering information. Especially information that may be unpopular or performance improvement oriented.

Telling people what they want to hear may create a happier moment, yet it is not sustainable.

The best communicators are able to deliver all information, good or bad, with professionalism.

They often do this with honesty, integrity, and with high levels of transparency. Trust becomes a long-term factor for information quality.

If you’re judging the quality of information by the likability factor, you’re going to face a lot of disappointment or the consequences of misleading those around you.

What is worse? Trust will diminish or be non-existent.

Measure information quality by its honesty and integrity. Consider the professionalism involved in both the passion and compassion of the message.

Care about the quality.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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workforce connections

Workforce Connections Are One Way to Navigate

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Is your office or building shut down? As it stands you still have a great opportunity with workforce connections.

Overcoming adversity is something most workplace professionals are skilled at, whether they realize it or not.

Today you have an opportunity. An opportunity to retreat and withdraw or start a digital conversation.

What if everything was normal?

You may take a great in the vending area or break room. You may drop by someone’s office or work area for a small catch up chat. Many people have impromptu brainstorming sessions. All in the course of a normal day.

What is stopping you today?

Workforce Connections

You can spend it in absolute isolation or you can reach out for a digital connection.

Hold a meeting, schedule a chat, meet online with colleagues. Have your coffee mug in hand, your dog, cat, or your kids in the background.

Everything you do is made up of small steps. Small thoughts, discussions, and work efforts. When they are all put together you have something. Something bigger than just the tiny pieces.

Today is as good of a day as any.

Carry-on.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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louder

In The Workplace Does Louder Make It Better?

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Turn up the volume! That may be what we want when we listen to a song we love. In our workplaces, or in society, does louder make it better?

You must wonder, “Why do people get louder?” We notice it with the cell phone talker, in the drive through lane, or whenever verbal information seems just a little unclear.

Getting Louder

Angry people do it, someone with a point that they believe was not heard.

Distance makes people do it, down the hall is different from in the cubicle area built for two.

Impatience can cause people to do it, and they’ll likely get faster too.

We can even do it when we type. “PLEASE come to my office NOW.”

When there is confusion, our assumption is that volume will make a difference. Then we do what comes naturally. We turn it up.

It seems that it is easier to gain attention when we get louder. The question is, “Does louder make it better?”

Certainly, in some cases, it does make it better. When we turn up the television or our car radio, it may allow us to hear more clearly. The pitch, tone, or the speed of delivery doesn’t change, just the volume.

Interpersonal communication may be different.

Is Louder Better?

In our personal verbal communication typically, volume isn’t the only adjustment. Angry means we’ll talk faster. May we use different words to convey meaning. Does this improve the communication?

The lesson with louder is that it doesn’t mean you’ll always be heard. It certainly doesn’t mean that what you’re trying to communicate is more valuable or clearer. It may create attention, but noise doesn’t imply clarity.

Being heard often comes with more clarity not volume.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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personal frame

Personal Frame and Where We Belong

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We tend to put everything in a frame. Our favorite pictures, a diploma, and even our capabilities. Others put us in a frame too. What is your personal frame and does it help or does it somehow make you less?

Work Frames

We attend meetings at work. The entire meeting and its associated outcomes are often conditioned by a frame. Some like the frame, some strongly dislike it.

The frame helps give it all structure. It may speed up processing and at the same time it may limit positive change and prolong problem resolution.

The people within the frame, are framed.

After working with others for some time we tend to have a feel for what they’ll say and how they may say it. We have an idea how they’ll interact and where they will stand on a subject.

This too, is both good and bad. There are positive and likely negative consequences.

While you are inclusive in the frame, you also have your own frame. A place they have placed you. Psychologically, they have given you a label. Smart, silly, bossy, quiet, big ego, or even a push over. People believe they know what they’ll get.

The real question then becomes what frame have you placed yourself in?

Personal Frame

Do you believe you belong in the meeting? Are you good enough, too good, or growing into it? Are you more of an observer, just wanting to have a seat at the table to keep a pulse on the action?

You’ve given yourself your own label. It is the place where you fit. As part of the group you know the ebb and flow, you will likely follow it, always.

It may be confidence, or a lack of it. Your personal frame will guide everything that happens next.

Avoid labeling yourself as not good enough, inferior, or not belonging. Chances are good you’ll live up to your own expectations.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Have effective meetings

Do You Have Effective Meetings?

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Are meetings really just a waste of time? Organizations of all types and all sizes often believe that they get work done through meetings. They improve communication, adjust focus, and motivate the team. Do you have effective meetings?

Most likely, the difference between doing good work and doing great work has something to do with what happens between meetings. Are your meetings setting the stage for the proper outcomes?

Belief About Meetings

Often the belief is that meetings are held to improve communication, yet the dynamics of the group often create an environment that doesn’t share, but chooses to withhold information. Yes, it is true.

The other common belief is that more communication will improve miscommunication. This is of course, very unlikely.

Show me an organization with a staff of more than a dozen employees and I’ll show you an organization that likely believes they have some communication challenges. Do meetings really make this better? It may depend on the purpose, but it will always depend the preparation.

Organizers and Planners

In order to make the most of what happens between meetings you should ask some questions before getting started on planning your next meeting:

What is the purpose of this meeting?

What is the desired outcome?

Who should be invited?

What is the best use of everyone’s time?

Where should the meeting be held?

Who will monitor or pursue accountability for recommendations, actions, solutions, to-do’s, measurements, metrics, and goals?

Who has the authority to make the decisions, are they invited and are they attending?

What is the budget?

How will priorities be set?

Is this a recurring meeting? Is it a task force, committee, or project management gathering?

Meeting Participants

And for the attendees:

How will you prepare?

What solutions have you thought of?

Have you met or exceeded the objectives?

What is the most constructive recommendation you can bring forward at this time?

Are you committed to outcomes and keeping the meeting productive?

Have Effective Meetings

Most important of all is when a meeting lacks focus on measuring effectiveness; chances are substantially higher that participants have labeled them a waste of time. Mind-set is critical and recurring meetings become part of the culture.

If you’re working for what happens between the meetings, keep them brisk, effective, and performance measurable.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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productivity questions

5 Productivity Questions Everyone Should Ask

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It seems common in many workplaces. Groups of 5, 10, or 35 people have work to do, often a lot of work to do. One common criticism is that the workload isn’t evenly distributed and pay grades do not align with output or responsibility. Certainly, those may be issues, but have you asked any productivity questions?

It is sometimes funny how time changes things. What was once critically important is sometimes quickly replaced or the originating reason is completely forgotten.

Pick a workplace, any workplace that has been around for 5, 10, or more years. You might find things that were once a good idea that people simply stopped doing.

Perhaps you will find the opposite too, things that were once good ideas but no longer apply and people are still doing them. Yes, it’s true, chances are good you’ll find some of these.

Every job, every task, every part of building, creating, designing, documenting, storing, and filing, is it necessary? Does it have relevance now?

Productivity Questions

Here are five questions to ask about what you’ll work on today:

  1. What is this used for?
  2. Who will use it?
  3. When does it get used?
  4. Is it the right design?
  5. Does it make a difference?

Just because it is a tradition, just because it once had value, is it still necessary? What has changed and is it important now?

Meetings, Marketing, and More

You can ask yourself about the meetings you’ll attend this week. Who is in the meeting, are the right people attending? Who is absent from the meeting and how does their absence affect the outcome?

Have you thought about the marketing materials, their timeliness, the message, the brand promise, and the mailing list? Are all of those things up to date, still relevant, and accurate?

Why do we do what we do every day and more importantly how does it contribute to the bottom line?

Productivity matters, and so does the workload distribution. Start with understanding what really makes a difference for the group and the organization. Ask questions, revisit choices often.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Do You Bring Solutions to the Meeting?

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It’s the first Wednesday of the month and Andy who is an outnumbered millennial team member finds himself sitting in a monthly managers meeting. He is nervous and his anxiety levels are through the roof. His baby boomer boss Robert is about to call on him for his monthly report and Robert has little tolerance for anything short of stellar results.

Visionary employee thinking of development

This meeting has gradually become more uncomfortable for Andy, any time that he hasn’t achieved a goal or completed something to Robert’s satisfaction Robert leaves him feeling like he might be only one step away from the good bye door.

Andy is frustrated. He works hard, puts in extra time, but doesn’t always meet the high expectations of Robert. When Andy asks for advice on how to do it better or to learn more, Robert typically delivers a non-supportive and chilly response leaving him with the impression that he shouldn’t have asked.

Andy is smart and quick on his feet and that is why his peers label him a fast tracker, but still when he is called upon to perform at manager meetings there is little tolerance for shortcomings. For Andy, the environment sometimes feels like a swimming pool, sink or swim.

The Story

This story and many others like it come to me from time-to-time. Sometimes it is through a training event, a consulting engagement, or coaching session. In other cases it might represent a friend of a friend, emailing or telephoning me with a question. The point is, this is fairly common, but what should Andy do?

The Real Problem

In his mind Andy knows he could make the argument that Robert should be more patient, perhaps be more understanding, and that he should provide Andy with some possible solutions or tips for improvement. Most people might agree with Andy’s argument, but that agreement doesn’t necessarily mean it is the most tactful solution.

Breaking this situation down it would seem that Robert expects Andy to find potential solutions, jump any hurdles and through any hoops to achieve the result. Andy needs to deliver.

Look For Alternatives

Andy might feel a little intimated, after all he is one of the youngest members of the team. Not only does he want to do a good job but he also wants to be respectful. It might feel a little uncomfortable to choose a more assertive approach.

If you consider that fear might be a factor, causing Andy to hesitate, stall, or procrastinate, I should remind you that personal or professional growth sometimes requires you to step out of your comfort zone.

Andy should seek to find some possible alternatives that will lead to more successful outcomes, but he’ll also have to risk speaking up to bring them forward.

His delivery should be presented with appropriate poise and confidence but yet be humble enough to achieve the acceptance, guidance, or permission from Robert that he has been missing.

Outcomes

Employees at all levels often bring problems to a meeting, after all that might be one of the reasons for the meeting.

So what do most meetings need?

Most meetings need solutions.

Bring some.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


  • 4

Managing Multigenerational Meetings

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Meetings are an important part of your workplace life and if you’re involved in recurring, regular scheduled meetings, you know meeting management is important.

business people group on meeting at modern startup office

The meeting chairperson and participants alike often wonder about the frequency of meetings and also how to measure their effectiveness, but what about those meetings that have the added dynamic of being multigenerational? They’re quite common today especially as the more recent generations take a commanding position in organizations by bringing to the table a vast set of technology oriented skills coupled with fresh new ideas.

Enter the era of meetings that incorporate the entire spectrum of the five generations currently active in our workforce.

What It Means

If you have a broad multigenerational segment of employee representation at your meetings you may have to prepare differently.

First, if you are a traditional, a baby boomer, or  gen X meeting leader (chairperson) you might have to consider dropping your idea that meetings run without devices. Devices of course mean smart phones, tablets, and notebook computers. You’re already cringing but that’s not the end of it.

The second thing to keep in mind is that while true multi-tasking is very questionable, the most recent workforce generations, those representing the millennials and Gen Z (Gen 9/11, iGen) crowd, are accustomed to fitting in some listening skills while also actively browsing their device. Keep in mind that in many cases they’ve done this for what to them, feels like their entire life.

Yes, you can set the guidelines for the meeting to not allow active devices and yes they will sit there and listen and participate, but their best work might not happen. It’s true that much of this will depend on the type of meeting and the meeting objectives but it’s also true that this is something that old school meeting leaders need to carefully consider.

Getting Results

Your meetings are important. They are not only a vehicle for communication but they are also likely important for decision making, planning, and solidifying team effort. If this holds true for you and you want the most productivity from your meeting you’re going to have to consider not only bringing your best and brightest talent to the meeting but also allowing them the ability to carry in a few tools.

How often have you asked a question in a meeting but no one knows the answer?

The old school way is to write it down, go research it, and bring the answer to the next meeting. Millennials and gen Z simply do not understand this low efficiency method. They can probably find answers or possible solutions, and in some cases video tutorials within just a few moments.

Can you say productivity? Time is money.

Spaces

If you are conducting workplace meetings across the multigenerational landscape present in our workforce today not only do you want to consider how the meeting will operate but you’ll also want to consider the meeting space. Meeting space, like office space, is changing.

You’re going to have to think about more open space with fewer closed doors and stuffy high-back leather chairs. Don’t just think about a meeting room; think about atriums, outdoor spaces, and coffee shops.

Enjoy your next meeting.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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