Much of corporate America has become mired in the bureaucratic muck of meetings. A giant boardroom sloth, it is the stereotypical materialization of inefficiency. Attendees fighting sleep, texting, tweeting, or playing the latest app on smartphones and tablets come to mind more quickly than the ideas of collaboration, communication, and working toward a common goal. However, the elephant in the middle of the room is that it doesn’t have to be this way! The solution starts with you and begins before the first minutes are scribed.
The typical meeting invitation received by team members consists of time, length, location, and the expectation that their attendance is required. Of the items missing that would contribute to meeting effectiveness is a key factor to creating a collaboration of efficiency and generation of ideas toward a common goal. In other words, purpose.
Purpose is what transforms empty activity into meaning. By tying a simple agenda to larger encompassing consequences, an effective leader harnesses the drive of human emotions by inspiration. It becomes the “why” behind a meeting’s more obvious and functional “what”. Purpose allows true achievers to impel themselves, and therefore their team leaders, managers, and corporations, to ever greater heights of success rather than be compelled to temporary flurries of activity that ultimately result in only further stagnation.
In 1997 Apple began an advertising campaign, the concept of which could just as easily apply to the chairing of meetings, called “Think Different”. A series of black-and-white images was shown of inspirational and iconic figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Einstein, Amelia Earhart. The following words accompanied the images:
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square hole. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
Here’s the amazing thing about the “Think Different” ad campaign, designed, of course, to sell computers: the word “computer” wasn’t mentioned or shown even once. We need only look around us to see the success that Apple subsequently enjoyed.
Inspire, drive, and motivate. Don’t assume that something as powerful as purpose “goes without saying”. Express it.
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