Pearl's Paradise

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled teams yearning to breath free…"

September 23, 2011
by Steve Pearl
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Making Meetings Matter 3: Five Simple Steps

(This is the fourth installment in our series about how you can get more powerful results out of team meetings.)

No More Train Wrecks

Train Wreck Outside Pretoria SA

Train wrecks aren't pretty.

I once witnessed the fresh aftermath of a train wreck.  Hearing the crash at our home about 500 yards away, I grabbed my camera and raced to the rail crossing in the valley below.  I was a freshman in college, which means that I was both smart enough to know the risks of being close to a recent train wreck and dumb enough to take them.  The wreck created a virtual jungle gym of cars, coal, and mangled rails.  No matter where you stepped, you risked injury.

One of the cars came to rest no more than 3 feet from a home located next to the tracks.  That particular image is seared into my memory.

Nobody got killed in that train wreck and, thank God, nobody got killed in the train wreck pictured above.

But no, train wrecks definitely don't fall into the "pretty" category.

Neither was my client's meeting. People ran for the hills when it was all over. As soon as they could get free of the wreckage, the scrambled away.

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September 15, 2011
by Steve Pearl
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Never Underestimate the Importance of a Great Editor!

Side trip time, friends. 

We take this momentary diversion from the "Making Meetings Matter" series to address a huge faux pas on the part of the HF Consulting and Coaching team.

<p><a  data-cke-saved-href="http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2986">Image: href="http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2986">Image: Pong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>When you run a web site you often fall prey to the, "I can do it all by myself" syndrome.  You write.  You edit.  You post.  You comment.  You tweak the web site for appearance.  You juggle running chain saws with your feet.

Uhhh…  Wait a second.  Let's step back for a moment.  "You edit."

No, you THINK "you edit." What you are in fact doing, if you edit your own material, is nothing more than making the piece a little less crappy.

Such was the case with our last posting, "Making Meetings Matter: Pt 3."  I "thought" I did a decent job of editing that posting.  I cleaned it up, polished it, and "thought" it was ready for prime time.

BOY was I wrong!

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September 14, 2011
by Steve Pearl
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Making Meetings Matter 2: When The Going Gets Tough…

(In the last installment we introduced the story of how an important team meeting went off the rails when a senior leader made one small, but critical, mistake.)

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Call a Meeting.

The Tough Guy Wields a Sword."Thanks for being here, everybody.  We have a few challenges ahead of us and I'm looking forward to hearing your ideas."

Our client rounded up his executive team for a critical meeting.  He just finished two weeks of analyzing sales and revenue projections and the future of the company went from bright to murky virtually overnight.  It was just before the famous Wall Street meltdown.  Signs of economic stress were already percolating through the professional services sector.

"For the past two weeks I've been reviewing our sales growth and revenue projections for the coming year.  I am sorry to say that they don't look good.  We already saw some slow down on a couple of our key accounts, so what I'm telling you shouldn't come as a surprise.  I'm projecting as much as a 50% downturn in new sales in the coming year due to economic stagnation.  I also think we might see some additional trouble with existing relationships and revenue streams.  A couple of our clients are already 120 days behind on payments.

"All this means that we are looking at the potential for stagnant growth or possibly even a need for some retraction for next year."

The word "retraction" resonated with the executive team at the table.  To several who had come over from large, Fortune 500 firms, the word "retraction" was code for, "layoffs."

Before continuing with his introduction, the boss paused and looked around the table.  If he wanted to use blunt force trauma to get the attention of his team, he achieved his goal.  After his opening salvo, everyone in the room looked glazed and a little shell-shocked.  From where I was sitting I could see that the VP of Client Services went from bright and upbeat to shaken and visibly pale.

The boss continued his monologue.

"Now, here's what I plan to do about it…"

Click to continue reading “Making Meetings Matter 2: When The Going Gets Tough…”

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