Creating A Foundation for Changing Your Organization’s Meetings

September 26, 2016 at 7:37 PM by Elise Keith in meeting design

Many people are unhappy with how their meetings work. Some of these people try to improve their meetings.

Of those who try to improve their meetings, a few achieve dramatic results.
Sweeping, business-changing, revolutionary improvement.

Others make small gains. One or two meetings run better, but the rest never rise above mediocrity.

The great majority of those who work to improve their meetings experience a momentary burst of effectiveness, which slowly deteriorates. The status quo reasserts, and the energy to change dissipates.

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Topics: meeting design

Infographic: How Much Are Inefficient Business Meetings Really Costing You?

September 19, 2016 at 7:15 AM by Patrick Kelly in fun with meetings

More than half of a middle manager’s day is spent in meetings and $37 billion dollars is the very high figure for revenue lost annually due to the time being spent in unproductive meetings.

In fact, in the United States alone, 25 million meetings take place every single day. 

Quick note: the Lucid team's research suggests that the real number is even higher than this! See our numbers here. Regardless of the specific numbers you choose, we agree that there are a LOT of meetings out there that can benefit from these tips.

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Topics: fun with meetings

Smarter Meeting Planning: The Process Approach

August 18, 2016 at 7:00 PM by John Keith in meeting technology

How do you go about scheduling a new meeting with a group of people? David Coleman writes about his research into more than 200 meeting scheduling tools in this August, 2016 CMS Wire article, Smarter Meeting Planning Tools Try to Save You the Headache.

One of the biggest hassles with meetings is actually setting the meeting up, with multiple emails flooding inboxes deciding who could meet, what the meeting is about, and forget about trying to pin down one time when everyone can attend.

David asks: "But what if there was a better way?"  In David's analysis, the approaches for scheduling a meeting can be broken down into four main categories:

  1. Publish and subscribe tools
  2. Calendar scheduling enhancements
  3. Resource management tools
  4. Smart meeting tools

The ordering of that list can be viewed as the evolutionary order of technical solutions to the scheduling problem, with the Smart Meeting Tools section capturing the current AI and Bot zeitgeist. There are quite a few good recommendations in each category, and I think there are some interesting capabilities on the horizon in the smart tools area. Read the full post to get a full sense of David's insight into the scheduling challenge.

The article also talks about Lucid Meetings and our alternative approach based on a holistic view of effective meetings from a complete scheduling, execution, and results orientation.

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Topics: meeting technology

Run Kaizen Events to Improve Your Business Processes

August 12, 2016 at 3:01 PM by Dan Prock in meeting design

Introducing Dan Prock
The Lucid Meetings team is delighted to welcome our newest template designer, Dan Prock. We met Dan through Ingrid Bens, and quickly realized he had specialized expertise that we were missing. Dan Prock helps businesses of all sizes implement lean practices that help eliminate process wastes and improve operations. Read on to learn about lean, kaizen, and how these practices that started in manufacturing are now revolutionizing the services and small business worlds.
— Team Lucid

Massaki Imai, the author of Kaizen, once said:

“The starting point for improvement is to recognize the need. This comes from recognition of a problem. If no problem is recognized, there is no recognition of the need for improvement. Complacency is the archenemy of kaizen.”

Recognizing and Eliminating Problems

In typical organizations, business managers, experts and engineers work to solve problems. “Problems” are typically defined as an issue with a mission-critical system, broken or poor performing machines, buggy software, poor performers, or defects in quality.

Several decades ago, Japanese manufacturers led by Toyota found a way to become competitive on relatively low sales volumes. They did it by turning their attention from just solving the obvious problems towards improving processes overall. The leaders at Toyota learned to harness the intelligence of their people to identify and eliminate “process wastes” – such as delays, rejects, unnecessary motion, over-processing, and extra inventory, for example  using techniques that have since come to be known as “kaizen” and “lean manufacturing”.

Led by master teachers known as the “sensei” and managed by all company leaders, the practice of lean and kaizen enabled Toyota to remain competitive through recessions and quality recalls, and to grow into the world’s largest car company.

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Topics: meeting design

What’s New with Lucid Meetings: August 2016

August 10, 2016 at 5:51 PM by Elise Keith in release announcement

One of the fabulous things about building online software is that it makes it possible to quickly make changes based on customer feedback. Here at Lucid, we strive to update the software each week with small changes and fixes, and to release at least one significant improvement every month or two. We’re pretty good about announcing the fancy new features, but we haven’t been as consistent about sharing all those smaller features, updates, and bug fixes that our customers care about.

Let’s fix that, shall we?

Below you’ll find details and screenshots about things that changed for the better in Lucid Meetings over the past few months. Finally, at the end, we’ll share a bit about what we have in the works. For those of you who use Lucid (or who plan to), consider this an invitation to collaborate!

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Topics: release announcement

5 Proven Techniques for Better Brainstorming

August 1, 2016 at 5:23 PM by Elise Keith in tips & techniques

Many meetings bring a group together to quickly discover answers and ideas that no one person can find by themselves. Whether we’re working to negotiate the details of a new project, finding a way to tackle a challenging problem, or seeking to define our strategic vision, the pattern is the same; someone poses a question, and the group starts brainstorming answers. Effective brainstorming is essential to nearly every type of business meeting.

Not everyone enjoys traditional brainstorming

Unfortunately, not all questions are created equally. Sometimes the questions asked in a meeting don’t invite meaningful answers. Asking “Everyone good with that?” after dictating a decision isn’t an effective way to surface real concerns or get real commitments. Some questions are too vague, making it unclear what kind of answer to give. Questions like “Do you have any feedback?” result in either polite non-replies (e.g., “Nope, I’m good.”) or long-winded side discussions that don’t necessarily get to the answers the group needs.

Getting great ideas from a group during a meeting can be hard, and for many participants, traditional brainstorming can feel like a painful waste of time.  

First, despite the popularity of brainstorming sessions, we have some evidence that meetings aren’t always the best place to birth new ideas. Ideal or not, however, sometimes a meeting is the only real opportunity we have to explore ideas as a group, so we’d better make it work.

Second, our brains all work differently. Not everyone does their best thinking on-demand. Not every group welcomes new ideas, creating a social imperative to keep any answers within a comfortable range of safe topics. Some people don’t seem to understand the difference between a group meeting and a personal consultation, taking it upon themselves to dominate the meeting by answering all the questions first, loudly, and in great detail.

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Topics: tips & techniques

How We Created an Open API and Added 500 New Integrations with Zapier

July 16, 2016 at 8:31 PM by John Keith in meeting technology, release announcement

In our article, What is a meeting management platform?, we start with this statement:

"Lucid Meetings is an online meeting management platform for designing, running, and continuously improving the business meetings that power your organization’s success."

When you declare that you're a platform, you better be able to back that up with some reasonable definition about what that means. In the above support article, we list quite a few properties of a Meeting Management Platform (read about them), including one line about how only a few "platforms" connect to your larger business ecosystem:

Only a few meeting management platforms include ... "Open APIs and extensive business system integrations"

This post is about that one line.

Creating an Open API

An Open API, or perhaps better put, a Public API, is the user interface for software developers seeking to integrate an API-oriented application into other business systems. A Public API (application programming interface) provides documented mechanisms for external software developers to safely observe, measure, and control the application (Lucid Meetings). It's a contract of sorts between the people who create software and the people who would extend that software in new and interesting ways. I love Public APIs.

In the modern age, most web software either provides or makes use of internal APIs for connecting the core software pieces to one another. Lucid Meetings certainly does. But having an internal API does nothing for your external developer community; we've long recognized that a Public API would be a great addition for our Lucid customers and partners. Last month we finally fixed that deficit.

See related documentation, The Lucid Meetings REST API, for a programmer's description of the entire API.

Getting Technical

Developing an open, public API for a web service such as Lucid Meetings can be a daunting task. While there is no shortage of best practices recommendations, there is also no single, prescribed approach for doing this work. In short, there are many ways to get this wrong, and no precise way to get it right. To focus our attention, we established a few guiding principles at the outset:

  1. Create a full featured API with read, write, and modify capability
  2. Adopt a pragmatic, RESTful approach that developers could embrace
  3. Use established patterns for resources (nouns) and actions (verbs)
  4. Use established patterns for authentication and authorization
  5. Fully, completely, lovingly document everything about the REST API
  6. Provide a large sample of relevant examples in our documentation
  7. Demonstrate the value of the API with a single, significant integration

It's fair to say we focused a lot of development attention on the correctness and completeness aspects of the API. Essentially, we focused on the first six points in our guiding principles list, researching relevant API theory as well as the current pragmatic thinking about REST API best practices.

And all that work paid off with a well organized, very usable API for technical developers to create new and interesting integrations with other applications.

What About Our Non-Technical Customers?

The last guiding principle, about demonstrating the value, is perhaps the most important. We can create APIs till the cows come home, but if we can't show how they add value then we're pretty much just talking about their potential, rather than their reality.

We needed a way to showcase the value of our newly minted API and we needed a way to directly enable the success for thousands of customers and their people.

Enter Zapier (rhymes with happier!)

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Topics: meeting technology, release announcement

How to Build Professional Bonds With Online Meetings

June 14, 2016 at 4:21 PM by Freeconferencecall.com in remote work

Meetings are an important component of virtually any business. In the past, it was not uncommon for meeting participants to board a plane and fly to another coast or international locations.

This was necessary to ensure that all of the company divisions met face to face and were on the same page, but it cost a great deal of money. Travelling extensively meant that certain employees could not perform their regular jobs for potentially days at a time.

Thankfully, online meetings have changed all of that without compromising professional bonding. In fact, many of the technologies available today make staying in touch so much easier, which allows professional relationships to be stronger than ever and require less of a time commitment.

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Topics: remote work

Facilitation Techniques for Consultants

June 13, 2016 at 10:33 AM by Ingrid Bens in meeting design

Introducing Ingrid Bens
The Lucid Meetings team is delighted to welcome our newest template designer, Ingrid Bens. Ingrid is an award-winning author and facilitator whom we've known for many years. When we heard she had a new book out that included several meeting designs, we couldn't wait to share it here. Read on for more about Ingrid's new book, including a new Lucid Meetings template for Group Discovery that showcases one of her designs.
— Team Lucid

Professionals in every field spend years perfecting their expertise, but very few ever learn to facilitate.

This seems like an insignificant omission, but it’s actually a major skill gap when you consider how much time everyone spends attending meetings.

Facilitation skills matter because they let you structure complex decision-making conversations. Without structure, meetings tend to be unfocused and hence, unproductive. When you run a meeting that lacks structure you’re inviting the outspoken to dominate and the side-trackers to hijack the agenda.

In contrast, when you run a well-structured meeting, the conversation stays focused, all views are considered, decisions are made objectively and the meeting ends with clear next steps.

When you run an unstructured meeting you constantly have to fight to maintain control. When you have a clear structure, you look organized and in charge. The choice is clear.

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Topics: meeting design

Strategic Planning Meeting Essentials Pack

June 1, 2016 at 4:05 PM by Tricia Harris in remote work, meeting design

Creating a strategic plan for your business is a critical task for the leadership of every company.

If you don’t decide where you’re headed, you will lead aimlessly. People will follow your direction, but they won’t have context, insight into to your actions, or an understanding of how they can best contribute.

Any planning requires time and focused attention, yet with a few simple rules, building a strategic plan can be accomplished with less effort than most people think.

Best of all, once you create the plan, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Everyone in your organization can move in the same direction toward a common set of goals.

Mapping Your Strategic Plan

Building a strategic plan is like creating a map. It has directions for how an organization will accomplish any given strategy. The plan (map) explains where a company is going and the methods (roads) people will take to get there.

When your team decides to come together and build the plan, be sure to include all relevant stakeholders in the process. Without them, you’ll have less commitment to the final outcome.

Why Plan?

Many leaders understand the value of planning, but neglect to go through with it for a myriad of reasons. Time constraints, knowledge of the process, or perceived high cost can all be obstacles to executing.

Here are 5 great reasons to get your team together to create a strategic plan as soon as possible:

  1. You get to set priorities
    Provide clarity by letting your team know the most important initiatives for the organization.
  2. You get buy-in on company direction
    If everyone contributes to the process, they'll be more supportive of the outcomes.
  3. Your team will have alignment
    When your team has a mutual understanding of and agreement on the company's goals, they'll work together more effectively.
  4. You can simplify what you'll work on
    Once you limit yourself to a set of specific goals, you can be liberated to work on just those goals.
  5. As a leader, you can communicate your vision
    Once you document your company's vision, not only can you clear your head of thinking about it, but everyone around you (employees, vendors, leadership) can contribute to achieving the vision sooner.

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Topics: remote work, meeting design

7 Insights about Conversation, Relationship, and Being Remarkable

May 31, 2016 at 10:58 AM by Tricia Harris in leadership & facilitation, tips & techniques

We recently co-hosted a Q&A webinar with Paul Axtell, and didn’t know exactly what to expect.

He gave such a great presentation – useful tidbits about meetings, great conversations, and life in general - that we decided we owed it to our audience to share.

Watch the recording, or read below for excerpts and the transcript from the webinar.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, tips & techniques

5 Meetings for Remarkable Leaders

May 16, 2016 at 11:07 PM by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation, meeting design

Remarkable leaders understand that how they design and lead meetings determines how well their group functions.

Why Leaders Need to Master Meetings 

Meetings serve a critical function in the workplace. The meeting's job is to lead a group from wherever they are individually to a new place where they can have a shared perspective.

We call this convergence; the merging of distinct perspectives into a unified whole. 

Teams that fail to converge around a shared perspective don't work. They hold different visions of what they should be doing. They work at cross-purposes. Decisions aren't clear, projects meander, and progress comes slowly or not at all.

It is the job of the meeting to give everyone a shared perspective on their work, and the job of the leader to make sure meetings succeed.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, meeting design

The Anatomy of Meeting Notes That People Will Use

May 12, 2016 at 10:00 AM by Elise Keith in release announcement, tips & techniques

(Tip: Be sure not to miss the downloadable business meeting notes template at the end of the story)

Return Leverage, one of Lucid’s Enterprise clients, found our downloadable meeting notes to be less helpful than they’d hoped. Toby Lucich from Return Leverage asked if we could improve the exports to help make it easier for busy professionals to read the meeting notes. We’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to learn from his experience and improve the exports.

Since we made these changes in collaboration with Return Leverage, we asked Toby if he’d be willing to share more about why this format works, and how his company uses it to drive meeting results with clients. Happily, he agreed.


Toby Explains Why Formatting Can’t Suck

Toby Lucich, Return Leverage Founder and CEO

As an entrepreneur and management consultant, I’ve now worked with hundreds of business leaders in organizations big and small, for-profit and non-profit, both founder-led and professionally managed. I’ve worked with organizational leaders at all levels that have been charismatic, visionary, thought-provoking, strategic, detail-oriented; some have also been distracted, impatient, disengaged, incompetent, or simply apathetic. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes.

The common challenges I’ve seen all leaders face are the overly-packed calendar, shifting expectations, soft commitments, impending deadlines, and never enough time to get it all done.

Regardless of the client or their culture, our first obligation is fundamentally about effective communication. We believe that every single client deserves our best effort to capture and communicate the most critical ideas and actions that will efficiently and effectively turn ideas into actions, and actions into successful business results.

How this information is presented is a critical first step.

A clean, easy-to-read format is a powerful first impression in shifting the value from meeting notes toward meeting agreements or records for your stakeholders. You never know which meeting is going to change the course of the company.

We’ve recently collaborated with Lucid to redesign the exported report. Here's some of the design thinking that went into the new format.

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Topics: release announcement, tips & techniques

Case Study: Return Leverage uses Lucid Meetings to help clients free up to 30% of their workday

May 9, 2016 at 4:47 PM by Tricia Harris in case studies

Return Consulting has worked for many years with clients from startups to the Fortune 50. Over that time, they’ve found that the most uniform shortcoming across all organizations is the weak commitments made in poorly run meetings, working toward ill-defined project objectives.

Toby Lucich, Return’s Founder and CEO, saw an opportunity to solve this problem for his clients, and was inspired to create Return Leverage - a service that enables leaders and project specialists to redefine their workload by delegating the day-to-day details of project management, meeting facilitation and task organization.

Using Lucid, Toby and his expert team drive these often overlooked essential habits within client organizations in a very effective way.

We spoke with Toby Lucich for this case study, and here’s what he had to say.

The Problem - And Inspiration for a New Service

Many of the clients Return worked with suffered from poorly run meetings, but this hasn’t been due to a lack of knowledge, or inadequate training.

Instead, Return found that clients wanted to rush through meetings, trying to keep their scarce employee resources focused on the most critical work at hand - the specific tasks that make the ’highest and best use’ of their available expertise.

"The problem is that when organizations try to shortcut their meetings, they lose the fundamental cadence that confirms commitments and drives accountability,” Lucich shared. “This ‘hurry up offense’ left no one doing the basic blocking and tackling work anymore – such as conducting effective meetings, monitoring commitments and deliverables, and keeping track of all the little details.”

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Topics: case studies

How to Lead a Successful Project Retrospective Meeting

April 29, 2016 at 6:48 PM by Elise Keith in project management, meeting design

We do not learn from experience … we learn from reflecting on experience.

John Dewey

These meetings go by many names - postmortems, retrospectives, after-action reviews, wrap-ups, project “success” meetings. Regardless of what you call them, they all have the same goal and follow the same basic pattern. The Project Retrospective dedicates time to reviewing a completed project and learning from both the successes and the failures so the team and organization can improve their processes going forward.

Formalized as the after-action review by the US Army, these meetings ensure a team quickly learns from each engagement.

There, the classic questions go something like:

  • What did we set out to do?
  • What actually happened?
  • Why did it happen?
  • What are we going to do next time?
Retrospectives give a team time to reflect on what they learned.

The Core Process

The process for debriefing a project covers roughly the same topics as the quick after-action discussion. I’ll go into more detail below, but in brief, it looks like this.

1. Review the project.

Start by reviewing the project facts: goals, timeline, budget, major events, and success metrics.

In order to come up with useful ideas that everyone can agree on, the team needs a shared understanding of the facts and insight into the parts of the project in which they may not have been involved.

It’s important not to skip or rush through this step, especially for larger projects. People will arrive at the retrospective ready to discuss and solve problems, often assuming they know everything they need to know about what happened. This is rarely true.

If you are reviewing a project as a team, that means it took many people with unique experiences to get to that point. This step ensures everyone gets all the facts straight before they try to solve problems they may only partially understand.

2. Discuss what worked well and what didn’t.

This is the heart of the meeting. Everyone shares what they learned during the project: both the good and the bad.

In my opinion, this is the most fun and most challenging part of the meeting. As the meeting leader, you have an enormous impact on the success of your retrospective by deciding which questions you’ll ask and how the team shares their answers.

3. Action planning: identify specific ways to improve future work.

Have you ever worked with a group that talks about their aspirations, problems, and what needs to change, but never actually does anything about any of it?

That sucks. It’s de-motivating, discouraging, and a waste of time.

Real change is the ultimate measure of a retrospective’s success. To ensure that your retrospective results in something actually getting better, you’ll end the meeting by creating a specific action plan for improvements.

Real progress feels sooo good.

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Topics: project management, meeting design

The Power of Gratitude in Meetings

April 21, 2016 at 4:38 PM by Tom Flynn in leadership & facilitation

We've known Tom Flynn for many years. Over lunch recently, he shared with us this story about a master facilitator he met early in his career who had a powerful influence on shaping the kind of leader Tom is today.

With all the "tips" and "tricks" and "5 easy ways" we see every day about how to improve our meetings, it's easy to lose sight of how important the simple things, like really listening and remembering to say thank you, can be. Tom's story is a beautiful reminder and we're very grateful he's allowing us to share it with you here.

Thank you, Tom, from all of us at Lucid.


Tom's Story

I learned one of my favorite meeting management tips during my time working with international standards groups back in the early 2000s. It’s as surprisingly simple as it is powerful, and something I practice whenever I chair a committee or lead a meeting today.

Back then, I helped facilitate a weekly teleconference call with 10 to 20 marketing professionals representing different companies on the DLNA marketing committee. Each week, these representatives called in at odd hours of the day from their offices in Europe, Asia, and the US.

Calls like these easily lose focus or become routine and boring. They can also be very stressful. The participants represent different companies attempting to agree on a single way forward. Each person there was supposed to make sure their company’s interests were protected. The competitive environment, the repetitive weekly schedule, and the added challenges of odd hours and choppy phone lines made it very hard for people to engage in meetings like this one.

None of that, however, was a problem for our calls because of the special custom our committee chair practiced.

He closed every meeting beautifully.

I’d facilitated international meetings like this for 3-4 years and thought I had it down. This new marketing committee however, was a revelation. Each and every week, the committee chair concluded the meeting by recognizing and thanking the committee members, to powerful effect. I’d seen people say “Thank you” before, but this was more than simple good manners.

Our chair thanked people individually by name for their contributions in a sincere and meaningful way. He made everyone feel good about contributing, and inspired us to come to the next meeting ready to impress. The whole dynamic of the group changed, as each person worked harder to deserve this recognition by the end of the call.

How did he manage to find something to say about so many people each week? He planned for it in advance.

Facilitate: verb

  1. to make easier or less difficult; help forward
  2. to assist the progress of a person.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation

Accessing the Wisdom of Your Group

April 13, 2016 at 11:06 PM by Paul Axtell in meeting design

Once in a while, a new manager will come to an organization and do something that is both bold and disruptive. First, they will ask the group to set aside their PowerPoint slides and their usual meeting topics for an hour. Next, they will open up the conversation in a simple, elegant and powerful way.

“I want to know what problems you are dealing with in your units. I want to know what you are losing sleep over. I want to know what you are worried about.

We’ve got an hour and so let’s just relax and talk. Who wants to start?”

Why is this bold?

It seems we’ve lost our ability to utilize the wisdom of our groups and our colleagues. We tend to worry more about what others think of us than being open, honest and vulnerable. Our desire for comfort shuts down our intentions to get better.

Yet, there is something about the power of groups that arises when people who care talk about things that matter. We end up feeling like we belong to a group of friends. We erase this sense of being alone. We develop a community of understanding. We get thinking that comes from the group conversation rather than from an individual. We learn from the experience of others. And the sense of connection as a group builds.

One of the valuable conversations that can be included on any group’s agenda is working together on an individual member’s dilemma, problem, idea, or project. Gaining access to the experience and thinking of colleagues can add clarity and options to a situation. In addition, these conversations strengthen the sense of community within a group.

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Topics: meeting design

The Remote Team Meeting Essentials Pack

April 12, 2016 at 2:56 PM by Tricia Harris in remote work

On the TV show The Profit, Marcus Lemonis teaches that “people, process and product” are the three keys to a successful business. As Chairman and CEO of Camping World and Good Sam Enterprises, he leads close to 6,000 employees in over 100 cities across the US. I’ll take that as a credible source.

There are numerous processes out there to run a business, manage people, and develop products, yet almost all of them are geared toward in-person communication.

What happens when your team is distributed, and rarely sees each other in person?

Remote work is a reality in companies everywhere - whether employees are on a different floor, co-located in offices across multiple cities, or in a remote home office location working solo.

We've published a wealth of information on remote work over the years. We sifted through it all and pulled out the five pieces we felt every remote team can and should have in their process toolkit - the foundations - and wrapped them up into a neat little package.

Introducing The Remote Team Meeting Essentials Pack. Here's what you'll find inside.

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Topics: remote work

Fast and easy: Schedule Recurring Meetings in Lucid

March 30, 2016 at 3:25 AM by Elise Keith in release announcement

Cadence. Pulse. Rhythm. Flow.

Teams that work well together get into a groove. They create agreements about how they’ll communicate, and they meet regularly. Whether it’s a daily huddle, a bi-weekly check-in, or a monthly committee meeting, most groups working together establish a regular, repeating meeting time. The regular meeting is a key tool in achieving the organizational discipline required to perform at a high level.

Lucid Meetings now supports the ability to schedule these repeating meetings using your favorite meeting template, making this the fastest and easiest way to get your team’s regular meetings set up.

For the longest time, we resisted creating a way for people to schedule a whole bunch of regular meetings at once. This was a well-meaning but wrong-headed mistake, because the new repeating meeting feature is crazy useful. (Largely my fault. I’m sorry.)

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Topics: release announcement

How to Run an Urgent Problem Solving Meeting

March 24, 2016 at 6:17 PM by Elise Keith in meeting design

Everything exploded. You’ve got a mess. Now what?

In one of the first posts on this blog, our friend and former partner wrote about adapting his emergency response training as a SCUBA instructor to the business setting. Chris translated the steps for triaging a physical emergency into a basic meeting agenda. It looked very much like the “Red Light” process John used when he worked a computer manufacturing firm, and like the “All Hands on Deck!” meeting I remembered from my time in client services. Since then, I’ve seen many formats for problem-solving meetings, and the basic pattern holds.

Here at Lucid, we’ ran into a thorny problem we need to solve quickly, and that none of us could fix on our own. To find a solution, we used our “Problem Buster” meeting process that we adopted way back when Chris wrote that first SCUBA-inspired post. Happily, our challenge also presents an opportunity to share this process and (a new meeting template!) with you.

Many hands make light work when lifting metaphorical blocks. And when solving urgent problems!

When to Use this Process

This meeting format is best for urgent problems that require a speedy tactical response. When you leave the meeting, someone will immediately go out and do something to start solving the problem.

What counts as urgent? “Urgency” is obviously subjective, but we can provide some guidance about the kind of problems that should be addressed by other means.

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Topics: meeting design