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    Personal Development

    Three Complaints About Meetings

    January 20, 2020 768 Views No comments

    Last year, I was given an opportunity to review the data from research on meetings conducted by an online scheduling platform, Doodle. The report offered compelling data, and I’ll share (with permission) the findings behind three of the most common complaints about meetings that might lead you to adjust some of your meeting practices.


    1. Busy professionals are more concerned about the quality of the meeting attendees than they are the meeting format because they felt that irrelevant attendees slowed progress.

    Eight or fewer participants is preferred for meetings. Invite only those people required to accomplish what you have on the agenda. Find other ways to inform and engage people who are not necessary. Of course, people want to be included and often get value out of meetings. The point is to be deliberate about inviting rather than just letting your group size swell without being thoughtful about who needs to attend.

    Management consultant Margaret Wheatley talks about small groups of people being able to make a big difference, and she uses the question, “What matters and who cares?” to help groups define their purpose. If you limit your meetings to discussions about what matters, your meetings will have more impact. If you invite only those most concerned, the conversations will be focused and productive. And you will also protect people’s time—making sure the investment value is high for those attending and giving those not needed in the meeting more time for individual work.


    2. The following irritating behaviors detract from the efficiency of a meeting:

    -taking phone calls or texts

    -people who interrupt others

    -people who don’t listen to others

    -arriving late or leaving early

    -people who talk about nothing for long periods of time


    You have two primary ways of managing behavior. First, ensure that the top people and most respected members of the group role model the behavior you want. Identify these people, take them to coffee, and ask for their support in improving the experience of the meeting for everyone.

    Second, spend a few minutes up front asking the group to be attentive and supportive of everyone who speaks.

    Some meetings will benefit from establishing guidelines about technology, interrupting, and side conversations—anything that detracts from the meeting’s efficiency. Don’t have a long list of guidelines, just three or four that the group agrees would help.

    You might use the graphic from Doodle below as an opening for your group to express what they would like to be true about meetings that isn’t true now.

    The Doodle Meeting Report 2019, created by online scheduling platform Doodle through research with 6,026 professionals in the UK, Germany, and the USA.


    3. Poor reception on conference calls and video meetings.

    This third point in the report is concerning because the vast majority of respondents experienced poor connections. When people are attending virtually, that leads to multitasking and half-hearted participation—never a plus if you want engagement and alignment. The experience of folks who are not in the immediate meeting room is often far less than for those in the room. Ask your people what support they need in getting the technology required to participate effectively.

    With the globalization of business, virtual meetings are becoming the norm for many conversations. Video conferencing technology has made it possible for virtual meetings to include many elements of face-to-face meetings, but not if the technology isn’t functioning for everyone.

    -Paul Axtell, author of Make Meetings Matter


    For more on ways to transform meetings, check out Make Meetings Matter>>


    Are People Unwilling or Unable to Work for You?

    January 15, 2020 4366 Views No comments

    I’m a binary guy. I like 0’s and 1’s. I like on and off. I like yes and no. I LOVE light switches…but dimmer switches confuse me. Getting to a binary question seems like the only way to start a problem-solving process. And so it is with figuring out why people are NOT applying for your open positions.

    It might be helpful to define terms here:

    UNABLE: lacks the physical or mental capability to take an action. A person may be highly motivated to take the desired action but cannot due to these limitations. Impossible to complete the action.

    UNWILLING: May be both physically and mentally capable of performing the desired action but lacks sufficient motivation to do so. Has made a value-based decision to not take the action.

    Now let’s ask the question again. If people are not applying for open positions in your organization are they UNWILLING or UNABLE to do so? The ramifications of answering this question will have a profoundly positive impact on your hiring practices. More importantly, do you know which of the two it is?

    If people are UNABLE to apply for open positions at your organization, that falls into one of two categories. First: The person is not aware of your organization. They have never heard of it, have never interacted with it and unless something changes will never interact with it. People cannot apply for a position at a company that they don’t know exists. As hard as it is to believe, about 70% of people eligible to apply for your positions fall into this category.

    The second possibility is that people are not applying because they have some FALSE preconceived notion about working for you. It may be that they have made or heard negative things about your industry. Maybe their information is inaccurate or completely out of date. It doesn’t matter. Unless you actively change these misconceptions about your organization in the community, people will cling to them and not apply in droves. About 20% of job seekers fall into this category.

    If people are UNWILLING that is quite another matter. This would mean that the person knows about your organization, has accurate information about working for you and has made a VALUE-driven decision not to apply for your position. While this happens, through my work with thousands of job seekers, I can tell you that only about 10% of job seekers fall into this category.

    How can you find out which is true for your organization? Simple. Just ask your current employees what made them aware of your organization for the first time. Did they drive past you? See a sign? See a job ad? Get referred from a friend?

    And about that false preconceived notion about your company or your industry….ask them about that as well. Did they have a wrong idea about your organization before they came to work for you?

    Knowing the answers to these questions will help you decide what steps to take to change the number and fit of the people applying for your positions. All of these answers lie with your current employees. It's time to ask them for some guidance.

    -Chris Czarnik, author of Winning the War for Talent; originally posted on chrisczarnik.com


    To read more about recruiting and retaining the best employees, check out Winning the War for Talent>>


    Insights on Focus from the Female Jerry Maguire

    January 13, 2020 41 Views No comments

    Molly Fletcher, the author of The Energy Clock, started her career answering phones in the SuperBowl office and went on to become “the female Jerry Maguire” (CNN). Check out this video from Fletcher, who discusses how top-performing athletes manage their energy to achieve world-class performance and how you can apply that to your own energy and goals.


    Learn more about sustaining your energy with The Energy Clock>>


    Where Did the Talent Go?

    January 9, 2020 54 Views No comments

    Whether driving across country or just to the grocery store it is hard to miss the number of organizations that are currently trying to recruit new people into their organization. If it seems like there are more “Now Hiring” signs than you can ever remember seeing…you are correct. U.S. companies are currently engaged in a “War for Talent” unlike they have ever seen before. Unfortunately, this shortage will get worse before it gets better.

    Origins of the worker shortage: While this shortage of eligible applicants for perfectly good jobs with good pay and benefits has taken most of the country by surprise, it shouldn’t really have surprised anyone. The demographic shifts in the countries’ population have made this shortage a mathematical certainty for almost 30 years. The math goes like this:


    --There are approximately 75 million people in the Baby Boomer generation (born 1945-1964)

    --There are about 65 million people in the next generation (Generation X) born 1965-1981


    You see? The simple fact is that there are 10 MILLION less people in the generation moving its way through the workforce right now. We don’t have to argue whether the shortage is caused by “millennials who don’t want to work or are living in their parent’s basement”. The simple fact is that with 10,000 Baby Boomers eligible to retire EVERY DAY there are just not enough people in the following generation to fill all those roles.

    Something that makes the problem even worse for employers is that the Labor Participation Rate (the percentage of eligible workers choosing to pursue employment) is at a historically low level. For decades about 68% of all people working age decided to work. Since the Great Recession that number has dropped to and stayed at about 63%. Not only are there 10 million less people to fill jobs, but of those about 10% less of them are choosing to work.

    When does it get better? For those of you wondering if you can just “wait this out” I have both good news and bad news. The generation after generation X is the Millennial generation. That generation is slightly larger than the Baby Boomer generation. So if you can wait another 8 years without filling all of the roles in your organization you need do nothing. If you cannot wait that long, you need to make significant changes in your plans for recruiting, engaging, retaining and developing employees in your organization. How to do that will follow in future blog posts.

    -Chris Czarnik, author of Winning the War for Talent; originally posted on chrisczarnik.com


    To read more about recruiting and retaining the best employees, check out Winning the War for Talent>>


    What's Your Unfair Advantage?

    January 6, 2020 2952 Views No comments

    Want to pay less? Sometimes you don’t even have to ask. Sales Force Magazine claims 75% of sales people offer a lower price before it’s ever asked for.

    “Most of us,” says Florida consultant Jaynie Smith, “will buy value if we know what it is.” Value is defined in a company’s competitive advantage, its positioning; how the company values its difference with the competition. This is their “unfair advantage.”

    Smith is one of Vistage International’s top speakers. Smith asks the CEOs who come to hear her to identify their competitive advantage(s). Most suggest items such as “outstanding customer service,” “our people,” or “our quality.”

    Her response? “Blah, blah, blah.” Not quantifiable.

    The question she urges be answered is “why us?” And she suggests that answer be crisp and quantifiable.A magazine ad for Zurich insurance contends their programs are as efficient as a well-run factory, citing “have achieved, on average, a 13% reduction in claims frequency and reduced costs by more than an average of 25%." Perhaps that explains why more than 60% of the manufacturers on the Fortune 1000 list are Zurich customers. Zurich has made clear what its competitive advantages are by quantifying them for the marketplace.

    Smith suggests companies should look for “only statements” about their company –‘only,’ she contends, “provides a competitive advantage.” Examples she offers include, “we are the only company offering xxxx.” Or, “we increased xxxx by xx%” - whatever the Xs are.

    “Ninety-five percent of employees lack agreement as to their company’s competitive edge,” she contends. Not sure? Then try this exercise: Identify what you perceive your competitive advantage to be, and then ask your employees what they see it to be. Are they aligned? Not likely. “There is a sharp disparity,” Smith says, “between what management and their subordinates believe is important to their customers.” Take the exercise a step further and get the viewpoint of your customers.

    Complicating matters, Smith contends, “prospects don’t value the same things as customers” and urges using double blind research studies to find out from your customers and from those you would like to be your customers what they value. CEOs often resist spending. However, Smith suggests it’s all in the math and asks, “Would you spend 10 to 40 thousand dollars to get the information necessary to help you close 10% more business?” If so, it’s an investment, not a cost.

    “Most businesses today,” Jaynie Smith claims, “are playing chicken in the price game,” leaving money on the table before the potential customer ever comes into the room. How about you? What’s your competitive, unfair advantage?

    -Bud Carter, author of Great Quotes for Great Businesses and Vistage International chairman

    Want more business insights? Check out Great Quotes for Great Businesses>>



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