Ralf Weiser's Blog – Shake Up Your Snow Globe! ©

Stop doing, shake your globe, ponder, dream, start reaching your full potential – live on purpose and do it with a smile!

Archive for the tag “inspiration”

12 ways of how to avoid death by meeting


12 ways of how to avoid death by meeting 

Meetings. Sometimes I think I the conference room is my office. How often do you feel that way, or have you been in more meetings than the workweek has hours?

Seriously, many meetings just keep on running on and on with little to nothing show for at the end of it in terms of getting tangible results. When folks get an even fuzzier picture at the end of the meeting than what they went in with, you will have some very unhappy campers to deal with sooner or later.

It does not need to be this way. Preparation is the key word in making a difference. Have you ever painted anything like a room or piece of furniture? If so, you may appreciate when I say that +75% of the total work going into this is the prep work leading up to it. The actual painting job takes a fraction of time. This is no different with meeting prep work. Properly executed this can save you many a nerves and of course time, money and frustration. Please also see the meeting planner free for you to use in the download area.

  1. Sit on a mental rock and ponder why you need to have a meeting in the first place. If you can avoid it, do not have it. Have personal conversations instead and make good use of your capability walking the four corners of your business.
  2. Clarify what kind of a communication you want to have. Is it a communication for interpretation? Communication for clarity? Communication for action? Communication for exploration?
  3. Identify the goal of the meeting. What is the desired outcome?
  4. Define location, attendees, time scheduled to start and stop. Make sure to book your rooms well in advance and all the props that you need.
  5. Who should attend? Err on the minimalistic side. More than five people at a time make for really slow meetings. Pay attention who of your people are visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. Make sure everyone is being considered.
  6. When you start the meeting make sure to start on time and end on time. Neat trick starting on time is to make the last person to arrive at the meeting the scribe. You will have some hilarious antics going on when you do this, but it has proven extremely effective.
  7. Define the roles of facilitator, scribe, and time keeper. Time keeper, no time to tread lightly on this; make certain that the time limits are kept.
  8. Plan out the topics that will be discussed. Upon starting the meetings give every team member a chance adding topics, or of course eliminating any.
  9. Sometimes it may be necessary having side bar meetings leading up the meeting that you are planning. When the topic is too vague, scope creep set in, or there are too many people in the main meeting, prevent major headaches this way.
  10. Scribe: Keep copious notes. For the technical savvy folks amongst you, use a version of the Meeting Planner on the Download page in your MS One Note folder and share it with the team members.
  11. At the end of the meeting go over the captured action items. Make absolutely, positively certain to doing this. Identify the responsible person to deliver results and by when.
  12. End on time. If you have a pattern of going over all the time, have a few meetings standing up. Trust me it helps keeping a fast pace and not to start rambling through the meeting agenda. If you must go over one hour time then plan on a 90 max meeting time before walking around, and get a bit of fresh air.

Nothing is worse than having a meeting for the sake of having a meeting. If need be, speak with you supervisor and take a break at no more than 90 minutes max meeting time.

Ralf

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1 way how to turn a bad conversation into a positive one


1 way how to turn a bad conversation into a positive one 

Most conversations go awry when one person starts to use an accusatory tone. This can sound like this: “You always ignore me”, “You never consider my opinion”, or “Can you ever plan ahead?”

This kind of lingo can start a downward spiral of events. For one using “you” in this context typically is like poking your finger in the other person’s chest. Always, never, ever, etc, are rather strong words and most likely were not meant literally. Once offended the other person may start fighting back. And why not? After all, “always”, “never”, “ever” are very rarely true in the literal sense. The moment the other person also starts throwing similar sentences the other way, a battle of the minds will typically ensue. Even worse are those people of us who say such things to intentionally hurt and drawing pleasure from putting their friends, family, co-workers, employees, etc. down.

So, how can you turn this situation around? A way out is using the expression of feelings rather than using accusatory statements. If you can express how certain behaviors hurt you and how they make you feel, it is typically much easier for the other party to understand what has led to the issue in the first place. Also, the other person’s mental shutters and personal defense system are not engaged and a much more sincere and genuine conversation can happen.

So what could the sentences above sound like? Let’s try this: “When you do not pay attention to me while I am speaking with you makes me feel sad and undervalued.”, “Sometimes I feel like my opinion is not valued at all; it makes me feel ignored”, “Whenever you do not plan ahead I feel like you do not value my time and my day ends up in chaos”.

See the difference? Emphasis lies in expression how a certain behavior makes you feel and how it affects you. This is the way how to keep the conversation at a really professional and factual level. It does not offend and is not intended to make you get even with the other person. A much more fruitful discussion can result. Have fun trying it out.

Ralf

1 important fact to know as a consumer


1 important fact to know as a consumer 

As a consumer you may think that you value being offered variety of choices. What we really want most is stability, consistency and congruence in the variety of choices. Where this comes in handy is when you are subjected to commercials and vigorous sales discussions with organizations that you have never done business with before – beware of the razzle-dazzle of seemingly infinite options.

Think of your favorite burger joint (cheesesteaks and hoagies here in Philly) and ponder why you like to come back. I am certain that most places are loaded with a variety of choices that you were attracted to.

Once you are hooked, and you have found the one to a few items you really like, your brain flips over to the other side of variety: Now you want the same thing all over again. That becomes the reason why you want to come back. You can count on getting the same responses of your taste buds and you feel good about food and the place.

It works like a charm. We have become fans of a small but fabulous burger place called Cheeburger Cheeburger and a small cheese steak place called PJ’s. On a broad scale this has worked for any big food chain that you can shake a stick at just the same as it does for any other brand.

You think you want variety, but what you really value is consistency and predictability. It applies to just about any product and service you need and want. Make good use of this knowledge if you happen to own a business. In case you are an unsuspecting consumer, stop wondering why you are buying a $4 to $7 coffee at Starbucks. Do not get baited by options. Look for tangible value and congruence of a brand.

Ralf

Discover the toughest thing for entrepreneurs to let go of


Discover the toughest thing for entrepreneurs to let go of 

Photo credit: Pablo by Buffer

It comes down to adapting to change and letting go of what you knew worked best when you started up your company. I have observed in many a friendly business and even I have been resistant from time to time abandoning a success recipe. After all, that is what got you this far. Challenge is that a business has stages very similar to human life. When maturity hits and we need to hire more people and build up a lot of infrastructure it is tough letting go of the figment our imagination that we call control. We should be hiring people that are much smarter and better equipped than us. We should be delegating and letting middle management take over control over most if not all important parts of our businesses. The one thing that keeps us from moving on is fear.

Fear is one of the most powerful emotions we have. Take for instance the fear of loss. No one wants to lose anything that we have an emotional attachment to. That applies to things, relationships, feelings, etc. Very often we may not even necessarily know if what we are attached to is good for us. What if letting go is the best thing that could happen to us? In this particular case we are afraid to lose our business if we changed the tried and true original business model. Don’t take my word for it. Here is a link to a fabulous book by friend Craig Hughes “The Self-Driving Company: How Getting Out of the Way Enabled My Business to Thrive”. This is the book to read when your start up business is stalling, you have employee turn over issues, you find yourself totally exhausted because you feel like you have to do everything, etc.

A good analogy to being held back by your old beliefs and the things that you are intensely focused on is the way how some monkeys are being caught in Africa. Food or other similarly interest sparking materials are being placed in a space the monkey is surely going to notice. That is typical a hole dug into the ground or an existing cavity in rock formations. When the monkey reaches into the hole grabbing the “bait” his hand no longer fits through the opening of the cavity. The catcher now fast approaches the monkey with the intention to scare him. The monkey stays caught because he does not want to lose the precious things he is holding in his hand (Discover this in action). The more he panics, the tighter he holds on to the loot.

Isn’t that a little like our entrepreneurial situation? The tighter we hold on, the more we get stuck and we get caught. So here is my call to action: Whenever you feel you have run out of options and you do not want to lose what you are attached to, please let mentally go of this attachment. Watch how liberating a feeling it is to look AT your situation and not FROM the middle of it. Ponder if letting go of the old isn’t the best thing that you should do.

Ralf

 

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