Thought-Starters for Transforming Your Company’s Meeting Culture

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I came across an article on HBR.org that couldn’t have been more timely to discussions that we’ve had recently at Daxko:  Break Your Addiction to Meetings.  As a highly collaborative work environment, there are countless opportunities for meetings at Daxko:  1-on-1s between team lead and team member, group brainstorms, company-wide updates, team meetings, morning check-ins…the list goes on and on.  Oftentimes, those meetings are effective, but sometimes they end in frustration and wasted time.  To tackle this issue head-on, our CEO, Dave, gathered thoughts from across the company to ensure that meetings are used effectively and don’t turn into company-wide time sucks.  Here are a few ideas that were thrown around to transform Daxko’s meeting culture:

  • Have clocks in every meeting room and appoint an official timekeeper at the outset of the meeting.  If it runs over the scheduled time, all participants are free to leave.
  • Elect a scribe to take notes throughout the meeting and distribute them to the group afterwards.  That way, everyone will be on the same page as to what was discussed and corresponding action items.
  • Get out of the office!  A change of scenery can lead to more productive discussions.  Grab a cup of coffee at O’Henry’s or hit the trail for a walking meeting!
  • For team meetings, have team members set the agenda.  Agenda items should be submitted ahead of time with the amount of time needed to discuss.  The meeting is only as long as the cumulative amount of time submitted.  No agenda items?  No meeting.

We’d love to hear from you!  In what ways are you transforming your company’s meeting culture?

Lisa H. is Director of Go-to-Market Strategy, and she thinks that Chex Mix and a Coke is the breakfast of champions.

Great Things Percolating in The Magic City

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As a Birmingham native, having pride in my hometown comes naturally.  Folks outside of the area may not be as familiar with the great things happening here.  In case you missed them, below are a few headlines recently about the place Daxko calls home:

  • Birmingham made NBC’s Today show list of six hot places to travel in 2013.   In good company with Miami, Pittsburgh, Marseille (France), Nicaragua, and Croatia, Birmingham was chosen for the 50th anniversary commemoration of the 1963 Civil Rights Movement as well as our affordability for travelers.
  • People named Brian Copes, a Birmingham-area teacher, as one of its Five Teachers of the Year.    As a Principles of Engineering teacher, Copes has helped his students learn to develop prosthetic legs from Toyota Corolla parts, which have been used for residents in Honduras.
  • Birmingham was named by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as the third most generous metro area in the nation, behind Salt Lake City and Memphis.  Did you know that Birmingham is home to the world’s largest Kiwanis, Rotary, and Rotaract clubs?
  • Birmingham’s Railroad Park won Urban Land Institute’s Urban Open Space Award as a public space acting as a catalyst for community transformation. Another example of enjoying nature within the city, Red Mountain Park, when complete, will give Birmingham more dedicated green space per capita than any other city in the nation.
  • And finally, did you know that Daxko acquired Active Life Apps, making Daxko the largest provider of YMCA mobile applications worldwide?  Now that 45% of adults carry smartphones, it’s vital for our customers to extend their connections with members outside of their facility.  This is the first phase in helping them do just that!

Want to stay in the know of great things happening in The Magic City?  A few of my Twitter favorites are @bhambizjrnl, @bhammag, and @BHMBizAlliance.

Lisa is a Birmingham native and Director of Go-to-Market Strategy at Daxko.  In her time outside of the office, she loves hanging out with her family, whipping up culinary creations, and advocating for homeless pets.

What Speaker Has Moved You to Change?

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Public speaking is the #1 fear among Americans (death ranks #7) and I certainly share that sentiment.  Prior to speaking in front of a group, my stomach churns, my palms sweat, my breath quickens.  Even worse, I often don’t elicit much of a response from the audience at all. Think crickets chirping.

One of the perks of being a Daxko team member is having a generous professional development budget to improve professionally.  The marketing and sales teams decided we would all benefit from presentation training, so we pooled our funding to bring in Dan Sapp of Dan Sapp Inc.  

After two days of intensive training, my mind was blown…in a good way.  Dan taught us that every communication is a chance to incite change in our audience (he’s termed it the Delta Model). 

Below are a few takeaways that will help me truly connect with my audience and hopefully bring about the change I desire:

  • Recognize and embrace your authority.  Realize that you have a right to be here at this moment taking up time and space in front of your audience.  You aren’t wasting their time, so own this opportunity to truly inspire and connect with the people in front of you.
  • Give the gift of silence to your audience.  Sometimes the most powerful thing you can give to your audience is silence to ponder what you’ve just told them.  Read more from Dan about the power of the pause here.
  • Ruthlessly edit your visuals.  As a marketing maven, this one is tough for me! Don’t bombard your audience with visuals just because that’s what you’ve always done.  Instead, only use visuals when you need to:
    • Simplify a complexity
    • Turn something theoretical into something real
    • Elicit an emotional response
    • Overcome a language barrier
    • Reinforce an important point.  (Keep in mind–If you reinforce everything, you reinforce nothing.)

I’m certainly a work in progress, but look forward to putting these ideas into practice. 

I want to hear from you…when has a speaker moved you to change?  What did he or she do (or not do) that spurred you to action?  Share in the comments below.

Tell Us: How Do You Encourage Innovation?

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I had the pleasure of participating alongside progressive leaders within the YMCA Movement at Daxko’s first annual Leadership Summit earlier this month.  During a discussion on innovation, long-time Daxko partner Steve Tarver, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Louisville, mentioned a very practical way that he fosters innovative thinking at his association.  It’s human nature to be resistant to change and new ways of doing things.  If a new idea is proposed, it’s easy to begin thinking of all of the ways it couldn’t possibly work.  When anyone comes up with a new idea at the YMCA of Greater Louisville, the group is challenged to brainstorm 10 ways that they could make that idea happen before the critiques begin.  What a great way to let new ideas breathe and grow!

For more inspiration on fostering innovation, read about one way we do it at Daxko: Daxko Lab Days.  

We want your feedback!  What ways are you encouraging innovation in your world?

Lisa H. is Director of Go-to-Market Strategy, and she thinks that Chex Mix and a Coke is the breakfast of champions.