Archives for August 2009

Russell’s 5-minute Rule

“Don’t allow more than five minutes to elapse in a meeting without writing something on a flip chart.” This is a gem from Russell Justice, international quality consultant for Eastman Chemical/Kodak (retired) and co-founder of The Transformation Network. After five minutes in a meeting, Russell asks the question, “What are we saying here?” and writes down the answer. If the conversation starts wandering, he turns the five-minute timer on.  The purpose of his meetings is not to “yak,” but to: Define problems Identify causes Make decisions Plan actions (including reinforcement) Writing decisions in a meeting includes a bonus, expressed here in a quote by Dr. Masaaki Imai, author of Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success:           “The weakest ink is better than the strongest memory.”

You Can Make or Break Someone’s Day

Here’s how to MAKE someone’s day: Don’t just point out others’ mistakes. This breeds defensiveness and creates a negative, fearful culture. Give your attention to those specific actions people do well. Don’t let just squeaky wheels get the grease. Stop by good performers’ workplaces sometimes and ask, “How do you do this so well?” Close mouth and listen (without suggestions for how to do it better. Yikes, careful!). Extinguish whiners and complainers. Listening breeds more negative talk. Re-direct negative conversations by askiing an action-oriented question (“What’s the status of project abc?’). Also, most importantly, END the attention for the whining. You’ll feel so much better, too. More tips in a future post. In the meantime, share your experiences on how to break someone’s day, or make someone’s day. Write a comment below . . .

Fluff, Bluff, and Guff: How to Avoid the Stuff

  There’s nothing like a deadline to get me moving. And nothing like personal accountability (knowing someone will ask me about it) to make sure I get my task done. And nothing like positive reactions from my colleagues, customers, or boss to make me happy I’ve done it. One time I faced a scary challenge: a 50-minute meeting with a newly-formed team to plan public seminars for a year. This would be our one-and-only meeting. We were starting from scratch on topic ideas, speakers, locations, and dates. How to get it done?