Let’s Talk About Meetings – Part III of III

Part I of this blog (shared in April) discussed the importance of organizational meetings from the human connection and relationship perspective. In May, Part II addressed the issues of meeting structure and some of the related dynamics. This concluding narrative will focus on your role as a meeting participant. The following suggestions are recommended for your consideration.

  • It is important to be on time for the meetings you are attending. Actually, arriving a bit early is recommended since you will have time beforehand to determine if there are any “lay of the land” matters you need to know about from any of the other participants. You might, for example, learn that “The chairperson is in a very bad mood today. He just got the last quarter numbers.”
  • Ensure that you are as informed and prepared for the agenda items as you can be. If background materials were sent before the meeting, make time to read them.
  • Be present and engaged in the meeting. Do not daydream or be distracted by your cell phone or mobile device. Take notes as appropriate.
  • Be a good listener. Pay attention to what the speaker is going to say next, not to what you think you should be saying.
  • Be a good participant. Do not talk too much or too little. Do not bring up issues in a meeting that only pertain to you.
  • Bring your “personal radar system” with you to the meeting. Detect the extent to which you can assess how your comments are being received. Observe the nonverbal behavior of the other participants. Are you gaining ground or losing it?
  • Whenever possible share your comments, questions or responses in a positive fashion.
  • Be interesting. Share a story, quote or humorous anecdote when appropriate.
  • Have goals for a meeting as it relates to your area of responsibility. Ask yourself, “What do I hope to achieve or accomplish?”



Proverbs 15:30

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart.
Good news makes for good health.


Can't Not Do

Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business

Gino Wickman (BenBello Books, 2011)

Gino Wickman, author of Traction, is a successful entrepreneur, business owner and writer. As you will see below, there are several good reasons to recommend the book. Leaders who would like to strengthen their entrepreneurial skills and operations abilities will find Wickman’s knowledge and advice particularly beneficial.

In the first six chapters of the book, the author describes each of the six key components of a business organization. While the concepts are not necessarily new, I did appreciate many of his creative insights with respect to his understanding and application of the “Entrepreneurial Operating System.”

  • Vision
    Asking the question “Do your employees see what you see?” is key to operating success. Since seeing clearly is so essential, the practical advice “Never tell someone something you can show them” is worth remembering. Vision, as Wickman demonstrates, is not to be ignored.
  • People
    This chapter begins with a good description of Jim Collins’ advice to “get the right people in the right seat,” the “right people” defined as those who share and are committed to your organization’s core values. Another interesting idea pertains to the employees’ role as “integrators,” those persons who harmoniously integrate the major functions of the organization. They can also be described as “the glue that holds the company together.”
  • Data
    This chapter offers a basic and useful understanding of the importance of having score cards. Score cards that can easily “red flag” off-track performance indicators are most valuable. Note that while the chapter had helpful suggestions related to the importance of numbers, it misses the point that “numbers tell stories about people.”
  • Issues
    As one of the key components, issues are those obstacles or problems that prevent or undermine the full achievement of the corporate vision. One of the chapter’s introductory observations pertains to employee morale and disengagement. He shares the reality that what drains leaders and staff is having unresolved issues. In fact, every unresolved issue weighs down the organization and impedes its success. Wickman describes a helpful model to address problems that includes outlining issues and then following the IDS steps: Identify, Discuss and Solve.
  • Process
    Most organizations operate through an identified number of processes, whether it be employee services, providing services and supports, treatment or marketing, and finance. Consistency in process is vital to every organization that wants to be successful. Therefore, the author suggests documenting all of the core processes and monitoring them.
  • Traction
    This final key component is not achieved without successfully addressing the previous five. Traction is all about results and the achievement of the vision. Wickman uses the term “rocks” to refer to 90-day employee priorities. It is not a term I would recommend. There is nothing to be gained from using unfamiliar imagery when “goals and objectives” do the job across all systems of accountability. It also seems naïve to think that only one person can “own” or be held accountable for a rock. This might work in a very small organization, but not in a large one.

As previously noted, Traction is an interesting book that will add insights to your understanding of successful business operations. You will find many of the identified tools very useful to you and your organization.

Until next time,

Art Dykstra

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