Why a Good Meeting Agenda Isn’t Enough to Ensure Value

In a recent blog posting by Michael Hyatt entitled “The Secret to Great Meetings: Preparation,” Hyatt offers three useful suggestions. They consist of:

1) Designate a meeting leader and facilitator

2) Construct a carefully planned agenda

3) Pick the right setting.

The second point ensures the meeting has a primary purpose, with two or three desired outcomes.

Is that enough? Probably not suggests Ann Latham in her new book The Power of Clarity. After all, outcomes that come from meetings often amount to nothing more than “let’s study this further” or “so-and-so will circle back with some ideas for next time.” Instead, Latham argues in favor of a firmer standard: what is tangibly different as a result of discussing the issue during the meeting? Only then will real progress happen.

Released today: episode #69 of my podcast series “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Ann Latham discussing The Power of Clarity: Unleash the True Potential of Workplace Productivity, Confidence, and Empowerment. Click on https://newbooksnetwork.com/category/special-series/dan-hills-eq-spotlight to get to the new episode.

Ann Latham has consulted for major global companies like Boeing and Medtronic, as well as Public Television, and she’s the author of two other books: The Clarity Papers and Uncommon Meetings. She’s been interviewed by The New York times, Bloomberg Business Week, and Forbes, where she’s also an expert blogger.

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Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc. His latest book, available on Amazon is Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo.

Tear Down That Wall

An image with this question: What’s the percentage of African-American women in management? The choices are: 2%, 4%, 6%.

The correct answer is four percent. So, in corporate America, while women constitute about 30% of the personnel in management, African-American women are only one eighth of that 30% total. Or to put it another way: in a more fair world, since black women collectively form 7.4% of the U.S. population, that four percent should be twice as large. You might ask “What are the percentages for other women of color?” The answer is 4.3% for Latinas, and 2.5% for Asian women. No wonder my eloquent guests on this episode refer to the situation women are facing as—not a glass wall—but a concrete wall! Remember Ronald Reagan telling the Soviets to “tear down that wall”? Just like the Berlin Wall, this issue is a matter of justice and liberty, too. To rectify the situation, more compelling steps must be undertaken than mere lectures about the need for greater diversity. For instance, Ella Bell Smith mentions that at Dartmouth’s Tuck School where she teaches, they’re about to take executive groups on an immersive experiential journey: visiting the anti-lynching museum in Alabama. Of all the interviews I’ve taped, this is one of my favorites.

Released today: episode #68 of my podcast series “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Ella Bell Smith and Stella M. Nkomo discussing Our Separate Ways: Black and White Women and the Struggle for Professional Identity. Click on https://newbooksnetwork.com/category/special-series/dan-hills-eq-spotlight to get to the new episode.

In image of Ella Bell Smith and Stella M. Nkomo and their new book : "Our Separate Ways:Black and White women and the Struggle for Professionla Identity" For Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight podcast episode 68 "Why are We Still Stuck?"

Ella Bell Smith is a professor of business administration at the Tuck School of Business. She’s also the founder and president of ASCENT: Leading Multicultural Women to the Top. Stella M. Nkomo is a professor in the Department of Human Resource Management at the University of Pretoria. She was the founding president of the Africa Academy of Management.

Image of NewBooks Network logo and Dan HIll's EQ Spotlight podcast logo

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc. His latest book, available on Amazon is Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo.

Emotions Create Habits

In the equation Behavior = Motivation & A_______ & prompt, what does A stand for? What’s your guess? Is it Ability, Aggravation or Absinthe?]

The correct answer to this week’s quiz is A because to change a habit you need to make it easy. Figure out which elements stand in the way, typically either time, money, physical effort, mental effort, or an unproductive routine. Find a weak link in what author BJ Fogg calls the Ability Chain, and you’ve found a way to break-through. Fogg has been in the business of helping people and companies change habits for a decade now and has a wonderful array of terminology and sayings. “Emotions create habits” is one of them. Another is “Decision and habit are opposites.” Still another is “Celebration is habit fertilizer.” Perhaps most important of all is “Simplicity changes behavior.” Give this episode a try, on behalf of making your listening to my podcast series one of your new habits!

Released today: episode #65 of my podcast series “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring BJ Fogg discussing Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything. Click on https://newbooksnetwork.com/category/special-series/dan-hills-eq-spotlight to get to the new episode.

An image of Author BJ Fogg and the front cover of his new book "Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything" for Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight newBooks network Podcast episode 65.

BJ Fogg founded the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University. He teaches industry innovators and created the Tiny Habits Academy to help people around the world. He lives in Northern California and Maui.

Image of NewBooks Network logo and Dan HIll's EQ Spotlight podcast logo

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc. His latest book, available on Amazon is Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc. His latest book, available on Amazon is Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo.

Why Superfund Toxic Waste Sites and Offices Are Often Alike

Image of this question: What amount of money does the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) spend annually on cleaning up toxic waste sites in America? The choices are $100 million, $1 billion or $10 billion. What’s your guess?

The correct answer to this week’s quiz is $1 billion, almost the entire budget for the EPA (which has been cut in half by Congress in recent years). Also, perhaps worth knowing, companies that caused the problem often avoid paying the clean-up costs: most often because offenders can’t be identified, no longer exist, or claim they can’t afford to contribute. 

How do toxic waste sites compare to offices? Well, with over 25% of all bosses qualifying as bullies, and burn-out rates in various occupations running in the range of 50% or more, hazards abound. People’s lives feel contaminated by undue and/or uncompensated stress. Who’s to pay up? Just like taxpayers shouldn’t have to compensate for the ill-gotten gains of companies polluting our environment and using citizen’s taxes to finance Superfund clean-ups, why should stressed-out employees be left holding the bag? When will Vice Presidents, Directors and Managers have their pay and career advancements influenced by metrics such as the employee retention rate in their departments along with other metrics like the absenteeism rate vs. the company average, and an accounting of the degree to which the mental health needs of employees reach a chronic level?

Released today: Episode #57 of my podcast series “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight” features Paula Davis, the author of Beating Burnout at Work: Why Teams Hold the Secret to Well-Being and Resilience.  Click on here to get to the new episode.

Image of Paula Davis and her book: Beating Burnout at Work. For Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight Podcast episode 57

Paula Davis JD, MAPP is the founder and CEO of the Stress & Resilience Institute, a training and consulting firm. She’s been featured in The New York Times, O (The Oprah Magazine), and The Washington Post; and she’s also a contributor to Forbes, Fast Company and Psychology Today

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc. His latest book, available on Amazon is Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo.

Making Company Culture Something Real

AN image of the question "Tell me about something you’ve invented” a the question Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson asks of job candidates wanting to join his company.

In the book, The CEO Test, which executive “aced the exam”? I would vote for Jeff Lawson, the CEO of Twilio, a cloud communications platform company. Why? Lawson allows for very little daylight between Twilio’s espoused values and how the company actual operates. Here is how Lawson pulls off that feat:

  • First, the company’s values were formulated based on broad input from current employees, not just as an exercise controlled by the c-suite.
  • Second, those values are carried forward to future employees by being front and center during the hiring and onboarding processes. The “invention” question above is but one example, given the goal of ensuring every employee likewise has a “builder mentality,” which is one of Twilio’s core values.
  • Third, quarterly and annual employee awards, as well as all promotions, involve honoring employees who embody the company’s values. The converse is that violating those values is cause for the firing of even high-performing “culture felons.”

Released today: episode #49 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Adam Bryant, the co-author, along with former Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer of The CEO Test: Master the Challenges That Make or Break All Leaders. Check out the audio link below to get oriented or click on https://newbooksnetwork.com/category/special-series/dan-hills-eq-spotlight to get to the new episode.

Image of Author Adam Bryant and the cover of his new book "The CEO Test: Master the Challenges that Make or Break All Leaders" For Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight podcast "The X-Factors That Set the Best Leaders Apart" episode 49

Adam Bryant is managing director of Merryck & Co, a leadership development and mentoring firm. Before that gig, Bryant was a journalist for 30 years, including at the New York Times where he authored the “Corner Office” column. In addition, he’s a frequent contributor on CNBC.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc. His latest book, available on Amazon is Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo.

Why Walking the Talk Doesn’t Propel Culture Change

The typical large American company is estimated to spend $2,200 per employee, per year, trying to manage its corporate culture. That amount equals over $60 billion annually.

Like a three-car pile-up on a freeway, consider these statistics: two-thirds of all business mergers fail; under 30% of executives think their company manages its culture well; and only 10% of HR leaders would go that far. Walking the talk doesn’t work. Who needs to hear more about a company’s “values” or “mission statement”? Trying to instill behaviors based on high-minded rhetoric isn’t nearly enough. Instead, a company’s basic operating system requires change if progress is to be made. That move means changing the habits and routines—the practices—that both drive and reflect the company’s true culture. What is also needed? Executives must ditch overconfidence in favor of psychological flexibility, the competency Israeli thought leader Yuval Harari has called the single most important passport to success in the 21stcentury.

Released today: episode #46 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring David G. White, Jr., the author of Disrupting Corporate Culture: How Cognitive Science Alters Accepted Beliefs about Culture and Culture Change and Its Impact on Leaders and Change AgentsCheck out the audio link below to get oriented or click on the image below to go directly to the new episode.

Image of the author, David G. White Jr's and the cover of his book "Disrupting Corporate Culture" for Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight Podcast episode 46, entitled "You are What You Do"

David G. White, Jr. is cognitive anthropologist working with organizations on culture, change, and leadership issues. He’s the co-founder of Ontos Global, a boutique consulting firm. David previously held leadership roles at Microsoft, Mercer, and IBM; and is also a professional jazz musician with 7 CDs.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc. His latest book, available on Amazon is Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo.

Of Changes & Values

From David Bowie to Tupac Shakur and others, songs about CHANGES abound. More prosaically, however, change proves hard to pull off. Since individual behavior changes must also happen for larger, company-wide initiatives to succeed, let’s turn the focus to individual change. Sustained personal change depends on tapping into deep-seated, inner motivations, which brings us to a person’s values system. 

Forget hackneyed corporate vision statements. What’s your own vision statement? If you had to choose, what five values might you select as most important to you? And if you created a bucket list of things you want to accomplish, personally and professionally, what 12 items might be on that list and why? In other words, how might those items or goals reflect your values and help you change and develop as a person, closer toward what you consider your ideal self?

Inspiring Sticky Change

Released today: episode #32 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Ellen Van Oosten, co-author of Helping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and Growth. Listen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Photo of Ellen Van Oosten and her book Helping People Change for Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight Podcast.

Van Oosten is an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and the Faculty Director of Executive Education at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. She is also the Director of the university’s Coaching Research Lab. This episode investigates not only what one wants to do in life, but also what one wants to be? To sustain change, be positive. Hunt for gold, not dirt, Oosten writes, and identify heroes from various stages of your life in order to help focus your dreams.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.