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Stop Wasting Your Time In Meetings

Are the meetings you’re participating in productive? How do you know? From the halls of corporate giants all the way down to the co-working spaces and coffee shops of startups and micro-businesses, a popular refrain can be heard: “Meetings are a waste of time”. Is that you? Well, most of the time, you’re right. They are. But that doesn’t say something about “meetings” as a whole, it only says something about the ones you’ve been having. Meetings can be highly productive, crucial in fact, and even enjoyable. So, what makes a meeting (or any less formalized conversation, for that matter) “productive”?
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Letting Go of “The Wrong People”

When engaging with a new or prospective client, one of the first things I ask for is a verbal assessment of what’s stopping his/her business from performing at the level to which he/she is committed. What’s in the way? Or to phrase it in its most casual and common form, “What’s the problem?” At some point in the conversation that follows, we come across some longstanding, persistent complaints.

When that person is in a leadership or management position, it is extremely common for one of the complaints to be about the lack of performance of those that they manage or lead (the same tendency shows up with the front-liners, but in reverse: they complain about lack of effective management or leadership). What frequently follows is how they know that what there is to do is to find the “right people”, and once that finally happens, their business will work as it’s supposed to.

In fact, I’ve recently been working with an upper-level manager of a medium-sized contracting services company who had just this issue. As it turns out however, getting the “right people” wasn’t the issue at all.

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