Blog: Leading & Living Courageously

Should You Axe Your Meeting Agenda?

Should You Axe Your Meeting Agenda?

If you ask the smartest and most experienced leaders what’s one thing that makes their meetings successful — most will tell you it’s having a clear agenda. But contrary to this popular point of view, we regularly see off-sites, strategy sessions and team meetings being held hostage by an agenda — rather than liberated by it. Here’s why. When a meeting is oriented around an agenda, the focus becomes making sure that all the topics listed are talked about in the time they have been allotted. This means that if item X is scheduled to be discussed for 15 minutes, from 10:15 to 10:30, that’s what happens. But what if item X turns out to […]

Balancing The Budget And Employee Morale

Balancing The Budget And Employee Morale

When times get tough, most executives move to cut costs, reduce resources and shore up company savings. And while focusing on financial issues in the short term is important, this is often done at the expense of the long-term health of the organization. In a weak economy, it’s of critical importance that leaders practice “giving back” to the company culture, even as things are being taken away. In our experience, it’s deflating and demoralizing to a workforce when things are only being taken away and nothing is being put back in. Leaders often underestimate the level of upset brewing among staff and even misread the fact that people are not complaining to mean that they […]

How To Cultivate Strategic Thinking In Your Company

How To Cultivate Strategic Thinking In Your Company

It’s very easy today for people to become paralyzed by fear and uncertainty. This places a greater demand on leaders to keep staff focused on the prospect of a brighter, yet plausible, future. This week’s post examines how managers can do this by helping their staff learn to think strategically about the company and their own careers. We have found that encouraging strategic thinking from the top of the organization to the shop floor is largely a matter of executive action and intention. In our experience, when executives make strategy development an activity exclusive to the top members of the organization, they discourage strategic thinking. Specifically, executives and managers stifle strategic thinking by not actively […]

Collaboration In A Matrix Environment

Collaboration In A Matrix Environment

Most organizations today have some kind of matrix structure in place, rather than the traditional hard silos of the past. The challenge in a matrix environment is getting people to be accountable and work effectively outside of their function or division. The problem fundamentally is one of ownership. Not knowing who owns what, whom one really reports to and what authority one really has often becomes an excuse for not taking responsibility for producing results. People avoid accountability for the end goal of improving bottom-line profits by claiming conflicting priorities or lack of cooperation as the cause. “They” (meaning the other departments) “won’t come to our meetings to help us,” is the chronic complaint often […]

Six Steps To Make Your Meetings More Effective

Different Behavior Means Better Meetings

In our last blog post on this topic, we talked about the difference between a meeting that is organized around an agenda and one that is oriented around outcomes. In today’s post, we further explore this topic by looking at the impact each type of meeting has on team behavior. The fundamental difference between an agenda-driven vs. a results-driven meeting is that they elicit two very distinct types of behaviors from team members. When a meeting is oriented around topics and an agenda, it brings about a greater degree of opinion swapping. For example: Someone expresses his or her point of view on a new product, provoking someone else to state his or hers. That […]

Micromanagement Is The Enemy of Strategic Thinking

Micro-management Is The Enemy of Strategic Thinking

In last week’s blog post, we discussed the way that leaders’ actions impact the cultivation of strategic thinking within their companies. This week, we continue the theme by examining the role that micromanaging plays in the process. Heed the warning. Leaders who micromanage create an environment of compliance where people won’t think strategically and don’t act as partners. Micromanaging suffocates strategic thinking because it forces people to interact at a tactical level only. It requires people to protect their world, and a huge amount of their energy just goes into how to survive and keep their boss off their back. One research study on micromanagement by Dr. Robert Hurley PhD at Fordham University found that […]