This Meeting Should Have Been an Email – Part 1

by Aricia E. Shaffer, MSE

Whenever I counsel clients who are struggling in the corporate world, among their chief complaints is how most meetings could have been an email. They spend so much time in meetings, they can’t get their work done.

When you’re providing clear, basic information, usually an email will suffice, but how can you make meetings with your team be more productive? How can you use that time to motivate them and perhaps even look forward to them.

Unhappy teams are unproductive, but how can you improve morale and optimize performance? In this five part series, I’ll share ideas to consider if you want to energize your team and motivate them to do their best. Today, we’ll be looking at how to reframe your thinking.

The lens through which we see things impacts our focus. Instead of dissecting a failure to determine who is to blame, consider flipping it over and asking – How did we succeed? What did we do right that we hope to replicate? And, as a team what would we do differently next time? Where can we improve?

Another aspect is to consider how each team member defines success. You need to make money and grow, of course, but you may have other goals and it’s good to know what those are so you know when you’re hitting them. These goals can help your business feel fulfilling and when other goals aren’t met, they can power you through. This is called stacking success.

Risk taking is part of success, but it’s uncomfortable. Australian entrepreneur and international speaker, Kerwin Rae talks about redefining how we experience uncomfortable experiences. We try to avoid confusion and overwhelm for example but confusion means you’re about to learn something – it’s a signal from your brain. It doesn’t mean you’re stupid. We try to avoid it, but if you shift your perspective and you look forward to it, suddenly you’re a risk taker.

Rae reminds us that overwhelm means your brain is growing. Your brain is trying to manage more than it’s used to. Take a break, but think of it as stress conditioning. It’s used at elite levels – of athletes, intellectuals, artists. This is an area that’s unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and scary but if you can reframe your thinking to see it as exciting, it’s a game changer.

The problem is that our brain’s goal is simply to keep us alive, not to help us explore new arenas and push our boundaries. And because it does that, we tend to try to avoid pain. We also have a tendency to look at what went wrong so we can avoid the pain next time which leads to blame. But those who are succeeding are doing the opposite. They’re taking risks, excited about learning and examining wins from failures. They’re stepping up and taking responsibility – giving them power over their problems.

As the leader of your team, people are looking to you to help them frame failures, unmet goals, and other frustrations. Reframing to the positive is a powerful tool.

Next time, we’ll be looking at how to understand the dynamics of a powerful team.

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