Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How to Hold Meetings

Steven Sinofsky

How can you have a better meeting? Many of us find ourselves in more meetings than we want. Since some of these meetings are outside of our control and we have to be there anyway, why not make the best of the situation.

Steven Sinofsky, a major player at Microsoft in the development of Office and Windows 7 has written a long blog on how to have better meetings. Here are three of the keys from that blog post.

Define success. Make sure everyone knows what the outcome or goal of the meeting should be. To come out of a meeting after an hour and not be sure if it was beneficial is a letdown. Our job is to make sure everyone in a meeting gets something worth while and that a meeting can be judged as successful.

Know the details. If your manager or your team is interested in a certain metric - make sure you have the numbers and that you understand and can defend the numbers. It is a waste of time to be in a meeting and then have someone say that s/he will get back to you later with the number. Be prepared.

Brevity. Start on time and end on time. A meeting that wanders with no end point drives energy out of a meeting. When a group of people don't know when a meeting will end they are not sure what they can get done later and that causes anxiety. Having an end point forces the meeting to stay on point and stay meaningful.

One other thing. Below is a chart from Steven's blog that shows how meetings can be successful or not successful.

Meetings are a part of business and will happen. You may as well make them meaningful and effective.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Say yes more. Connect people more. Get up early more. Expand your network. Take better care of your family. Great advice.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Become A Customer Company

The title to this blog seems obvious and even a little silly. Isn't every company becoming a customer company? Isn't every company company focused on the customer? Surprisingly, they are not. How often do you work with a company that seems to hate the customer? The service is awful and the people are unhappy.

If that describes your company - watch out! The world is changing and it's changing faster than you may think. Below is a video from Salesforce.com that addresses some critical thoughts. If you watch this video and feel great about what you are doing - congrats! Most likely you will find areas to improve. Two of my favorite lines from the video are "this is a trust revolution" and "you need to become a customer company". Enjoy and learn.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Three Ways to Improve Your Odds of a Sale

Handshake 2

Who is interested in selling more? Who is interested in doing more business? How many companies are out in the market trying to sell more products or services? I think almost all people and companies want to grow and do more.

Tom Searcy has written an article for Inc magazine that gives three ways to improve sales. These are only three of hundreds of ideas but they are good for the world we live in today.

One way is to get good at doing small transactions. It is easy to just focus on the big fish and the big sales but with the right amount of smaller transactions a company can diversify business. When you care for the entire list of needs of a customer you can do a better job as a supplier. Just like Amazon has automated the small transaction and has done it well - any person or company can do the same. Our company uses storefront technology similar to Amazon to manage and process small orders. This has allowed us to take care of a full range of offerings to clients. Think about how you can do this in your world and get going.

The other two ideas from the article are worth reading. Whatever you do - do something, try new ideas and make this a year of improvement and growth.