Meetings are Just a Waste of Everyone’s Time?

Meetings can either be a huge waste of time or can be a game changer in your organization. Victoria Downing, president of Remodelers Advantage says, “This statement is both right and wrong. The wrong types of meetings are time-wasters. In fact they are worse than that because they are boring, undisciplined and accomplish little. But the right kind of meetings are team builders, culture enhancers, and help to get everyone on the same page and moving toward the same goals.

Try a mix of meetings from the every-morning-5-minute-huddle where each office staff person lists their top priorities for the day to weekly production and sales meetings to monthly key manager meetings to annual company retreats for planning the up-coming year. Use meetings efficiently (agenda, clear start and stop times, good facilitation) and you’ll be shocked at just how much you can accomplish.”

If you would like to become effective at running efficient meeting try Patrick Lencioni’s book Death by Meeting which in Lencioni’s own words, “focuses on a cure for the most painful yet underestimated problem of modern business: bad meetings. And what he suggests is both simple and revolutionary; Lencioni provides a framework for his ground-breaking model, and makes it applicable to the real world. Death by Meeting is nothing short of a blueprint for leaders who want to eliminate waste and frustration among their teams, and create environments of engagement and passion.”

I have read and highly recommend this book. It will make a big difference in your accomplishments in the new year and will help to mobilize your team to achieve your 2014 businesses goals. Best to you in the new year!

How to Find the Right Customers

Start by asking yourself what work you do that is almost effortless?  What do you do that gives you great satisfaction and pleasure?  What type of work do you enjoy and are really good at?  What type of things do you feel you do better than anyone else?  By making a list of these things you will be on your way to finding who needs the services that you render.

The next step is identifying who your current favorite customers are.  Take a moment to write down who your top 10 favorite clients are.  These are people that you enjoy working with.  When they call or you see them you are happy to talk with them.  It seems easy to serve them.  Go ahead and make your top 10 list.

Then talk with these customers and ask them some of the questions below.  You may need to change these question a little to fit your services.  Either call them up or ask them to have lunch with you or a cup of coffee.

  • What were your first impressions when you called our office?
  • What do you remember about the first meeting with the salesperson from our company?
  • What, if anything, were you surprised to learn about our company?
  • What were you delighted about in the process of working with our compa-ny?
  • How did you feel when we complet-ed your project?
  • What do you tell your friends about the experience of having us do work for you?
  • If we wanted to find more good people like you to work with what would you suggest we do?

Once you have identified who your best clients are, you know who to start working with.  Now you must develop a plan to seek out customers just like these.  For instance if you know what type of media your top clients read, then you can place an ad in that me-dia.  Once the right prospective clients start calling you, then you will know who they are.  Remember you don’t have to serve everyone who calls.  Most people are not your clients.  But the ones that are a right fit for you will make your life easier and more pro-ductive.


I recently read an article that I found inspiring and true by Bruce Kasanooff. By the way, Bruce thinks it is a truly selfish approach, I disagree. If it comes from your heart it is a way to spread goodness. Read it below and come up with your own verdict.

Three Words That Will Transform Your Career

Every time you encounter another person, think: help this person. It’s not altruistic. Nothing else can so quickly supercharge your career and improve the quality of your life. When you walk into Starbucks for a coffee, think help this person about the barista who serves you. Instead of being frustrated that he isn’t moving fast enough, see if you can make him smile. Better yet, tell him to keep the change.

When the phone rings on a busy day, don’t get frustrated by the interruption. Think help this person while you answer the phone. Doing so will change your demeanor, your thought process, and the entire interaction.

If you have a subordinate who isn’t pulling her weight, instead of criticizing her, every time you see her think help this person. This doesn’t mean let her slide, or ignore her shortcomings. It means help her either improve her skills or find a position better suited to her strengths. But don’t just brush her aside; really help her.

But wait a minute – I know what some of you are thinking. What about the people who take credit for other people’s work? What about the rich and powerful who have gotten that way by crushing others? Doesn’t their success prove me wrong?

Not at all. Sure, there are some people who take the exact opposite strategy. But it takes real skill and focus  to succeed by being evil, and most of us just don’t have the fortitude to pull it off. For those of us with a soul  and a heart, the only real choice is to succeed by helping others.

By first thinking help this person, you will change the ways that others perceive you. There is no faster or more effective way to change your interactions and relationships. You will be viewed as a positive, constructive, helpful and dependable person. People will think you are more perceptive, attentive and understanding.


I hope your summer is going well. Let me or Linda at the BAGL office know if there is anything we can do to help you.

Andy Haste
Riverside Construction

Finding your reason for existing

I recently read a story of a teacher that only had approximately 6 months to live. He wanted to make sure his life counted so he decided to travel around the country visiting his past students. He didn’t want to leave this world without the assurance that he participated in making the world a better place. This story has stuck with me because the idea of making the world a better place is an idea that most want to aspire to.

This story definitely spurs us on to ask deep questions about our individual decisions on how we spend our time and energy, however I don’t want to focus on our personal contributions to making our surroundings a better place but on our business contributions. So how does an organization go about figuring our why it exists? It starts by asking this question: “How do we contribute to a better world?” I am borrowing four categories of focus from Patrick M. Lencioni’s book The Advantage to help us find out “Why do we Exist?”

Why do we exist from our customer’s standpoint? How do we please the customer that walks through our door? What can we do to focus on the customer and make their world a better place to live?

Do we exist to make the construction industry better? How does this fit in to the National Association of Home Builders? Of course we want the industry to do well because this helps our companies.

This purpose is about doing something that makes a specific geographical place better. Of course we all want our communities to prosper. This is where our friends and our families live and where our kids go to school. How does our purpose affect our community?

This is about serving the employees. We want to make the work experience one that brings satisfaction and hope. Maybe we should spend more time thinking about the reason we exist is to serve those that work with and, or for us.

As you think about these categories it is not always the first thing that comes to mind that becomes the reason you exist. We all have a need to aspire to a higher idea! If we figure out the deeper reasons why we exist it will help guide us to focus on the things that truly matter. If this is a topic that interest you please read Patrick Lencioni’s book The Advantage.