Proven Step-by-Step Recipes for Hiring, Developing, and Retaining Great People

Sep 16, 2021 by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation, meeting design (13 minute read)

Right now, many teams are dealing with massive turnover. Reports on the "Turnover Tsunami" and "The Great Resignation" reveal staggering volatility across industries and countries. Have you driven past the restaurants in your area recently? If so, you've seen the desperate billboards advertising hiring bonuses, increased wages, and pleading with customers to forgive their limited services.

It's not just the restaurants, as seen in this text message.

Why is this happening? Lots of reasons.

According to Gallup, it may have nothing to do with the organization, the manager, or the team; this is part of what happens when major events force people to re-evaluate their life choices. Normally, major events like graduations, marriages, births, and deaths are infrequent and sprinkled randomly across the workforce. During these last 18 months, every single person experienced a major life event all at once. Everyone is re-evaluating their life choices, and a lot of them are deciding it's time for a change.

In short, it may not be about you right now.

Of course, if your whole team just quit, it might be entirely about you. Your company might be a terrible place to work. You might be an awful manager. Gallup also says that the Great Resignation is made worse by a pervasive Great Discontent.

Whatever the reason, labor shortages are making it hard to get work done.

The cascading failures are unraveling the supply chain. Whole teams are walking away from complicated systems, leaving their replacements with no one to tell them how it all works. This makes the new jobs especially difficult because customers haven't relaxed their expectations. Kindness, unfortunately, is not as contagious as Covid-19.

While many are leaving their jobs, it's likely that boredom, loneliness, or finances will drive them into new jobs soon.

What does this mean for employers and people leaders?

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, meeting design

Want Better Meetings? Put the Purpose in the Name

Aug 23, 2021 by Elise Keith in tips & techniques (8 minute read)

You don't necessarily need an agenda to have a great meeting. 

I'm pretty sure you knew that already.

I'm guessing you've attended many useful and interesting meetings that lacked an agenda. I bet that when someone tells you "No agenda, no attenda!" you feel chastened, but also a bit annoyed by this demand for what feels like busy work.  Short, purposeful meetings simply don't need an agenda. 

Every meeting, though, should have a clear purpose. Why does this group need to spend this time together?

Leaders around the world have a lazy habit of adding meetings to the calendar without making it clear why that meeting needs to happen. As Doodle reported in a 2019 study of over 10 million meetings:

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Topics: tips & techniques

A Technology Platform for Business Meetings (2022 update)

Aug 18, 2021 by John Keith in meeting technology, communication architecture (12 minute read)

Last update: Aug 17, 2022

When we conceived of Lucid Meetings, we set out to create a meeting system that embedded the knowledge and processes we'd been exploring into a technology service that organizations could readily adopt; an expert system of sorts to help them avoid much of the pain we'd all experienced in our prior business improvement initiatives.

Our mission for the software platform then, and now, was pretty straightforward:

To build the world's most inclusive, connected, and informed online meeting platform, empowering people at all levels of an organization to readily lead exceptional work meetings.

In terms of the Meeting Performance Maturity Model, the Lucid Meetings technology platform fits into level 4 (systematized), where the organization is deploying standardized technology systems to support an effective communication architecture.

It's About Total Meeting  Success, Not Just Technology

The biggest evolution in our thinking over the past ten+ years has been to move beyond "technology as the solution" and embrace more fully the entire human meeting experience.

This is why you'll see us focus strongly on helping people learn the essential skills they need to successfully leverage the technology platform, and why you'll see free learning resources throughout our website and in the software itself.

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Topics: meeting technology, communication architecture

5 Ways to Maintain Meeting Schedules With Flexible Work Arrangements

Jul 25, 2021 by Lisa Michaels in remote work, guest post (5 minute read)

Hello friends! Please enjoy this guest post about establishing meeting schedules in the face of flexible work arrangements from Lisa Michaels, a thriving content marketing consultant from Portland, Oregon.

Pexels

For years, companies have been making the shift towards a more flexible work environment. The cloud and today’s ultra-fast internet connections allow people to stay informed and aligned no matter where they are.

However, though many organizations were beginning to shift towards remote working opportunities, it wasn’t until 2020 when we saw the trend explode.

The pandemic of 2020 meant many companies had to choose between shutting down the company or finding a way for staff to work from home.

According to Gartner, the events of the year shattered the paradigm of the standard workplace schedule forever.

The question for today’s companies isn’t whether remote working opportunities are necessary, but how can they ensure the continued productivity of their employees in a remote environment, particularly when it comes to arranging meetings between disconnected parties?

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Topics: remote work, guest post

Leading Successful All-Hands Meetings: Avoid Common Mistakes and Advance Your Mission

Jul 22, 2021 by Elise Keith in meeting design (18 minute read)

Most organizations host regular meetings involving everyone on their teams.
These meetings go by many names: all-hands, all-staff, all teams, town halls, business update meetings, Teatime, TGIF, and more. This form of meeting, where you gather everyone in your tribe at the same time, is thousands of years old and practiced by every kind of group.  Unfortunately, none of these names provide much guidance about how to make these meetings worthwhile.

Like every meeting, the key to a great all-hands meeting is to clearly define the purpose and intended outcomes in advance. Why do you host these meetings? What should be different afterward as a result?

"All Hands" just describes the attendee list.

I've been asked how to improve all-hands meetings by several clients over the years. In this article, I've pulled together all those separate bits of advice in one place.

Read on to learn:

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Topics: meeting design

A Process for Navigating Your Company's Changing Way of Working

Jul 14, 2021 by Elise Keith (8 minute read)

I've been thinking a lot about how some teams are designed to operate with uncertainty, but most are not.

The teams that operate in uncertain conditions never know what they'll face when they show up to work. Firefighters, athletes, investigators: they can't plan what will happen each day. Instead, they develop skills for performing in a variety of situations, tools for assessing the situation they find themselves in, and then respond with their best guess at what they believe will work in the moment.

If the first attempt doesn't work, then they update their thinking, make a new decision, and try something else.

Decide - see real world results - get information - update mental models - update decision making rules - decide again
Teams respond, adapt, and improve by using approaches like Chris Argyris's double-loop learning. So smart!

Right now, there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding the return to the workplace. Should we try to get everyone back into the office? If so, when? Or how often?

The right choices aren't clear.

Of course, the experts say... so, so many things!

That all our employees will quit if we don't support remote work. Or hybrid work. That we have to be flexible, but that hybrid teams are the hardest to run and the most likely to increase inequality.

Whatever it is we choose, we'll probably get it wrong. We also absolutely must communicate these choices clearly with our teams, because all this uncertainty is burning people out.

Then we'll never hear the end of it. Our teams will probably tell us all the ways our decisions are wrong if we ask. Or if we don't, they'll just leave.

Aha.

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Make Better Decisions Faster by Standardizing Your Decision-Making Criteria

Jul 9, 2021 by Elise Keith in tips & techniques, decision making (8 minute read)

Note: These criteria were originally shared as part of our guide to establishing an effective decision-making process

Have you ever responded to a Request For Proposal (RFP), with its pages and pages of Musts, Shoulds, and Nice to Have selection criteria?

Or, let's keep it simple. Have you ever worked with your team to decide where you should go for lunch?

If you've ever chosen between multiple viable options, you've used decision-making criteria to make that choice.

Or maybe not? Maybe you and your team acted out this scene?

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Topics: tips & techniques, decision making

It's Time to Talk About Your Meetings. Here's How to Get Started.

Apr 30, 2021 by Elise Keith in meeting culture (7 minute read)

"How can we reduce the time we're spending in meetings?"

I used to love it when clients asked me this, because wow - what a softball! This is easy math. To reduce time wasted in unproductive meetings, you can:

  1. Cancel meetings.
    Look for any meeting that lacks a clear purpose or goals, and get rid of it.

  2. Shorten meetings.
    Whack 10 minutes off of every recurring meeting on your calendar, and stick to the new time limit.

  3. Invite fewer people.
    Eliminate meeting time for those people, who probably have better things to do anyway.

  4. Assign a timekeeper.
    This increases your team's awareness of time passing in the meeting and your odds of ending on time or early.

Here's a quicky video summing up these easy-math tips.

 

But do these simple answers help the smart professionals asking this question? 

No.

Of course not, because this isn't really a math question.

This is a question about how to change a team's meeting culture.

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Topics: meeting culture

Reasons to Reconsider How Data Is Shared in Remote Meetings

Apr 27, 2021 by Lisa Michaels in remote work, guest post (5 minute read)

Hello friends! Please enjoy this guest post about information security in meetings from Lisa Michaels, a thriving content marketing consultant from Portland, Oregon.

The way we work has changed on a fundamental level.

These days, around 56.8% of US employees are working remotely, and there’s a good chance that the trend for flexible working will continue to grow.

Remote and hybrid workforces can’t always meet in-person to share ideas and discuss projects.

Instead, they need to access online tools that bring them face-to-face with teams wherever they are.

The good news is that video conferencing and remote meeting services allow your staff to remain productive in any environment.

On the other hand, rushing into a meeting solution without proper planning can be dangerous from a security and privacy perspective.

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Topics: remote work, guest post

How to Give Positive Feedback to Your Team During a Meeting

Mar 22, 2021 by Richard Fendler in leadership & facilitation, guest post (5 minute read)

Hello friends! Please enjoy this guest post about giving positive feedback in meetings from Richard Fendler, a goal-oriented project manager and team leader.

Meetings are an opportunity to discuss projects, provide updates, share ideas and make tough decisions. In amongst all this, it is important to remember that they can also be used by managers to give team members the positive feedback they need to feel valued and fulfilled in their role.

The challenge, then, is to work out the best way to actually give this feedback, especially now that more meetings are taking place virtually rather than face-to-face.

With that in mind, here are just a few ways you can be proactively positive towards your workers while meetings are underway, without this derailing proceedings and while ensuring that meetings have value.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, guest post

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