Tech Talk | founX

Technology: Redefining information flow and the way organizations meet.

By Steve Gran

If you stop to think about how technology impacts the way we work in organizations it is astounding. You will also surely notice that sometimes the technology becomes the focus instead of the basic principles of work. Thinking about and calibrating your work to these principles unlocks a path to organizational performance and results, regardless of what technology you use.
If we look to the past we can see how these principles have been applied to human work. From this we can discover insights that will help us to continuously improve regardless of what technology is being developed or utilized. Think back to the day of transparencies, early computers, projectors and the introduction of cell phones. Technology has been constantly changing how information is displayed to how we use it. But let’s return to a familiar work principle for example leverage and utilize information in all decision making or data based decisions making. Technology has certainly helped many an organization in the execution of this principle.

Information is a critical part or “life blood” of an organization. Our need for information, the speed of access and volume continues to multiply with every step technology takes. This transformation continues to impact how we share information, but even at a deeper level, the way we gather to discuss, review, plan, analyze, and most importantly make decisions around that information. Where is the organization’s data reviewed and discussed? In the old days it was in the conference room, in a meeting, or in someone’s office face to face. That is until the invention of the phone and the evolution of the conference call. So not only has technology transformed the information flow, it is also transforming way people meet in the organization.

Technology has redefined meetings. We sometimes hear, “we really do not have meetings around here”. Yet the inbox and calendar are jammed packed with activities that certainly sound like meetings. In in some organization that is all that is on everyone’s calendars. A full slate of meetings in whatever form or definition we may or may not use. So it begs the question what is the modern definition of a meeting?

To think about the definition of meeting, all we need to do is look towards the dictionary definition of the word. Again different words arise, but an essential core soon appears. The definition of meeting could be broken down to a core statement such as: two or more people gathered for a common purpose. If that was our definition how would that change the what think about the way we meet? Is an email a meeting by this definition? What about someone stopping by your office for a “drive by” that ends up being a ½ hour or longer, is that a meeting? I guess by the definition that would also be a meeting. Two or more people gathered for a common purpose. So let’s tie this definition back to technology and how it seems to have shifted our definition and context of the way we think we should be meeting.

So what comes first the technology or the thinking? We believe that in thinking first we can then purposefully pick the right technology for our organizational needs. So how do we display our information, especially information in and out of a meeting? What technology are we leveraging to enable the instant continuous flow of information? Secondly just because we have placed meetings in a certain type of historical box, look past the old definition to the core definition and ask yourself, how many meetings do I really attend in a day? Look at that next email string and you may see a meeting unfolding. And finally challenge yourself to observe your organization’s pattern of meeting and using information, and ask a simple question, is it helpful? And is the technology you are using helpful?

At the end of the day think back to those timeless principles of work. Technology will continue to grow, change, and increase speed. However, regardless of technology there will always be a need for people to come together for a common purpose, to meet and use information.

So now let’s take the technology of email and reflect on the definition of a meeting (two or more people gathered for a common purpose) and the timeless principle of work (data based decisions making) and discuss our use of email to do our work.

Stay tuned for my next article and make sure to follow founX®.

4 reasons you need better meetings now.

Now is the best time to make the most of your meetings and help your organization.
By Steve Gran

1.Meetings are today’s new production floor.

The meeting is the production floor, operating room, sports field, performance stage for the modern worker. Statistics show 50 – 60% of time spent in meetings is waste. Would you accept that level of productivity from your doctor, your favorite sports team, and the actors in a play? Imagine if you went to play and the play took 3 hours but the actors only performed for ½ of that time. The rest of the time you just sat waiting. I think we all know what the answer. Why do we accept that level of production in meetings?  Maybe we think it’s just a necessary evil or the cost of doing business.

Challenge: go observe the productivity and waste in your meetings, today and throughout the week.

2. Skill level: Basic. Action: Meetings

Meetings are a basic foundational process that happen every day. A common definition of a meeting is a gathering of two or more people for a purpose. How many times do you meet with two or more people is a day (in or out of a conference room)? Without discipline to the basics we open the door to poor performance and waste. We all know the meeting basics, and have tried several tools but have we ever pulled it all together and committed to it? I mean really, really committed to being good at the basics.

Challenge: Evaluate how good you are at the meeting basics, today and throughout the week.

3. Team Performance is a function of High Performing Meetings

We often hear, “We recognize the problems our meetings present to us, and frankly they are horrible at times. But it’s not our biggest problem.”. If you have said or even thought that, this is an indicator that bad meetings really are your biggest problem. How can you get bigger initiatives and strategic work done more efficiently, on budget and on time? Improve your meetings (HINT: founX® can help). By doing this you will improve organizational productivity and results.  High performing teams have high performing meetings.

Challenge: Start a conversation. What do people think the correlation between meetings and performance is?

4. Without structure teams and individuals are more subject to the storms of organizational life.

Are people connecting in ways that are productive or maybe your team is going through difficult or “stormy” season right now? The storm analogy is a good one. During a storm we seek shelter or in this case structure. We need it but often do not like it because we are all creatures of personal preference. “I like it this way and I know my way is best.” This way of thinking is the signal of an impending storm. Clashes of individual personal preferences on how to manage meetings and execution are like hot and cold air colliding in nature. An organization’s meeting and execution structure should help steer teams away from the storms. If you don’t have one please reach out to us, we would love to help.

Challenge: Go find your organization’s meeting and execution structure and assess how good it is, today and throughout this week.

What are you waiting for? Bad meetings are a real problem in organization life today and it seems to be getting worse. The founX® way works and has helped thousands of people. Click here to request a free demo.

 

Meeting Minutes – Are they obsolete?

How can we make meetings more efficient?

By Brian Cain

In today’s business environment waiting on meeting minutes (or summary notes) for more than 1 hour after the meeting is too long.  My experience has shown that many times the meeting minutes are produced long after the meeting and as a result the participants of the meeting find little or no value in these notes when finally received.

With the internet at our fingertips we find information in a matter of seconds, we are not accustomed to waiting.  Most organizations have systems in place that allow team members to receive all critical information necessary to complete their work in an equally efficient manner.  An example would be your Business Intelligence System. If you agree with these facts, why are we waiting more than a few minutes after a meeting to receive a summary of the meeting. What can we do to work smarter, be better, and roll out efficiency to other areas of our organizations?

We have defined the critical components needed once a meeting is complete:

  1.     Date of the Meeting
  2.     Who attended
  3.     Start and Stop Time
  4.     Decisions Made
  5.     Clearly defined action items
  6.     High level notes to communicate the other critical items
  7.     An individual and team summary of how well the meeting was conducted

At founX® one of the key components of our system is to provide you all of this information and more in a simple and easy to read document.  As quickly as the meeting ends, all participants receive an email with The Meeting COMPASS® attached AND a link to the Execution Journal.

 

New founX® White Paper – Free Download

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Executives and managers commonly cite the inability to execute as a top organizational challenge. This is surprising considering the number of books and classes that espouse to teach how to execute, as well as the number of software solutions that promise better execution upon implementation. These tools might provide good advice and/or incremental improvements, but alone they cannot change an organization’s culture, and this has to happen to successfully execute strategy.

This position paper examines how using a comprehensive methodology to manage meetings and post-meeting responsibilities can provide the processes an organization needs to change behavior — and thus culture — in order to improve execution.

Download White Paper PDF

founX® Introduction – A Proven Path to Execution & Accountability

founX® Managing Partner Wins Shingo Prize

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The book, PEOPLE: A leader’s day-to-day guide to building, managing and sustaining lean organizations, which was co-authored by founX® managing partner, Steve Gran, has won the prestigious Shingo Prize.

The Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence is named after Japanese industrial engineer, Shigeo Shingo. Dr. Shingo distinguished himself as one of the world’s thought leaders in concepts, management systems and improvement techniques that have become known as the Toyota Business System. Drawing from Dr. Shingo’s teachings, The Shingo Prize helps companies and organizations increase their efficiency and effectiveness by developing cultures that continuously strive for improvement. It also awards and recognizes organizations that demonstrate exceptional results from applying its philosophy and recognizes authors who have contributed important insights and applications of the principles it teaches. Those interested in more information about The Shingo Prize may visit www.shingo.org.

“People: A leader’s day-to-day guide to building, managing, and sustaining lean organizations” asserts that the building of a lean culture, or a culture that strives to continuously improve its processes in order to create more value to the customer, must be centered around people and leadership. The authors outline the high-level concepts, activities, principles and practices that they claim leaders must know intimately in order to successfully execute a lean transformation.

Read Full Press Release

 

Steve Gran Featured in O.D. News and Views

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Steve Gran

The Capital City Organization Development Network (CCODN) has featured Steve Gran, managing partner of founX®, in their June 2013 online newsletter, O.D. News and Views.

Based in Columbus, Ohio, CCODN’s mission is to advance and apply organization development technology to benefit our members across Central Ohio.

Subscribe to O.D. News and Views

 

The 4-Question Meeting – CNN

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CNN.com has a very poignant article titled “The 4-Question Meeting: You Can’t Be Brilliant Alone,” written by Robert Half of CareerBuilder.com. It lists the types of people who disrupt and prolong meetings in your organization

  1. The meek moderator
  2. The meeting addict
  3. The idea killer
  4. The technology tinkerer
  5. The smartphone fiend
  6. The lunch break obliterator
  7. The class clown

founX® can help you manage these types of people to give each meeting a focused purpose, specific time allotted to each participant, and a way to measure each meeting’s success.

To read the whole article and more details about these types of people, click here.

Meeting Killers – Wall Street Journal

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The Wall Street Journal has a very insightful article about having meetings in a company and the different types of people who can often hijack or sidetrack the meetings, creating poor morale and inefficiency. The article is called “Meet the Meeting Killers,” and it starts like this:

When it comes time for a meeting, co-workers can be deadly. Discussions get hijacked. Bad ideas fall like blunt objects. Long-winded colleagues consume all available oxygen, killing good ideas by asphyxiation.

Co-workers wander off topic, send texts, disrupt decision-making or behave in other dysfunctional ways. Even the best leaders can resort to desperate measures to keep the discussion on track: chocolate rewards, Elmo dolls and ice-cold rooms.

Perhaps you can relate.

founX® helps your organization by minimizing the meeting killers. Built on The Meeting COMPASS®, founX® provides you with a tool to not only plan meetings but to rate and quantify their success (or failure).

Fight the meeting killers. Be more productive with founX®.