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Personal Growth: There’s More Than an App for That

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing, and today’s guest post is from Rusty Brett  – Enjoy! 

DTMIt’s no secret that personal growth and development is easier said than done. Like setting a New Year’s resolution, setting goals for self-improvement is easy — it’s the execution where most people run into issues. Incorporating personal growth into your lifestyle requires effort and perseverance, but the ROI is worth it.

Where did this personal development trend come from?

Personal learning has transformed industries – from business to healthcare – in the last decade. With the proliferation of search engines and the popularity of social media, there’s no question people have been placing a priority on self-development. Technological advancements have led to the widespread availability of knowledge, which has enhanced elements of self-development in all industries. When we zero in on personal development as it relates to technology, we can see trends pointing to more personal growth involving technological integration, social sharing, and mobile applications.

Technological Integration

In the 21st century, technology has become part of our lives and society. New technologies have allowed more efficiency and productivity while also allowing for more enjoyment. We use our mobile devices to track our health, pay bills and store schedules and contacts. There are endless uses for these devices, and they vary from person to person. The introduction of Apply Pay shows there is no sign of technological integration going away.

Social Media

Social media platforms have allowed us to become more aware of others. Social media users are sharing aspects of their lives including self-improvement, which becomes a positive form of peer pressure that we see every day.

In terms of personal growth, social media serve as a supportive and motivational role. For instance, many people learn about new workouts from Instagram and then feel motivated to try them out at the gym. When people see healthy recipes shared on Pinterest, it changes what they choose to make for their meals that week. And plenty of LinkedIn users read up on industry trends and learn from other professionals through the platform. In addition, LinkedIn can be gratifying for users when they get promoted, endorsed for skills or congratulated on a new job. As addictively entertaining as social media is, the time spent on it can be beneficial for personal development.

How to Bring Personal Growth into Your Life

According to a 2014 Nielsen report, mobile users spend an average of 30 hours and 15 minutes per month on mobile apps. About 65 percent of this time is spent on social media, search engines and entertainment apps — and only 6 percent of this time is spent on productivity apps. Prioritizing your time on your mobile apps can increase your personal development. It’s time to utilize apps that are beneficial to all aspects of your personal growth. .

Lift [Free]

LiftIn a nutshell, Lift is designed to facilitate the formation of desired habits. If you are looking to change negative habits or learn new skills, then this app is perfect for you. It allows you to customize your goals and provides support and motivation to stick to them. It provides data on how often you have accomplished a task or goal, which in turn gives you feedback.

Mint [Free]

MintBudgeting your personal finances and staying on budget is a constant problem for many. Mint provides a great service to track instantly how you are doing financially. Not only will Mint organize all of your accounts and investments, but it will also notify you about your bills, create budgets and save your money.

Argus [Free]

ArgusFinding motivation to maintain your health can be hard, but Argus makes it a priority to motivate and inspire you. Argus works with Apple’s Health app, but you can also use it on its own. Beating your health goals from one day to the next can be fun and fulfilling, especially when you compete against other users.

Tempo [Free]

TempoOrganization is key to your professional and personal life. One problem with staying organized is scheduling your time. Tempo is a smart calendar that allows you to pool together your personal and professional calendars and contacts. This way, all of your meetings, events and people are in one place on your phone or tablet.

 

Rusty BrettRusty Brett is the owner and Chief Executive Officer of Lift Division as well as an investor in a handful of other start-ups. With several years of entrepreneurship, business ownership and marketing experience under his belt, Rusty has a passion for not only launching businesses, but also helping other businesses grow their sales and client base.

Join Me Live Times Two Today

My latest book The Commitment Engine – Making Work Worth It launches this week so I am holding two live opportunities to talk about what it takes to make work worth it. I’ll cover topics like clarity, culture, community and purpose.

John Jantsch live

1) Live Hangout Presentation – I will stream a presentation – How to Build a Commitment Engine – live to YouTube – join live and ask questions to win copies of the book – all book buyers from my previous promotions are also entered into a drawing to for 1 Kindle Fire, 1 B&N Nook and 1 $100 IndieBound gift certificate – all buyers from past promos qualify.

Head over to YouTube and tune in live – Wed, Oct 10th – 11am CThttp://www.youtube.com/ducttapemarketing

2) Twitter Party and Live Teleseminar – Wed, Oct 10th 1pm CT – * 25 cents for every tweet, during the party, will go to Kiva.org to help celebrate entrepreneurs in developing countries. Sign up here to get in on the fun!

Twin Engines for Your Business

Making Work Worth It

DearWorld.me shot by Robert Fogarty

This week my latest book, The Commitment Engine – Making Work Worth It, ships in the U.S.

The central theme of the book is purpose – or more specifically, how to get very clear about why you do what you do, how to bring that to your business and how to attract and build a community around this single-minded focus. It’s a road map for building a fully alive business.

More than anything else I’ve written about the intense need to make the work you do worth it. This takes clarity, this takes intention and this takes, well, the hardest work you’ll ever do, but it just might be the only true way to success.

In an effort to attract as much interest as possible to this important topic I’ve created a bunch of valuable content promotions, a party, a live webcast, a reader focused contest and a whopping good deal.

First, buy a copy of The Commitment Engine this week and get a copy of my last best seller, The Referral Engine free. (Shipped to U.S. addresses only) – Thus the Twin Engines!

And that’s not all – everyone that takes me up on this offer will also be entered to win a Kindle Fire, Nook or $100 gift certificate to an Independent Bookstore. (Anyone that has purchased before and submitted receipts is already entered.)

We will announce the winner of the prizes during a live to YouTube seminar – How to Build a Commitment Engine – Oct 10th at 11am CT

Okay, if you want to get more details, consume some educational content and take part in the fun by sharing and tweeting, hop on over to:
Friends of The Commitment Engine page.

1 The Cynics Guide to The Commitment Engine

I have a new book coming October 11th called The Commitment Engine – Making Work Worth It.

I know, I know, I’ve talked a lot about it lately, but bear with me. The book is a more personal look at some of the important elements of building a business that serves your life and there’s a decidedly more “touchy-feely” nature.

So, as one might expect, there are few folks that are surprised that I am sharing my thoughts along these lines.

Today I thought it would be fun to conduct a self interview of sorts with questions compiled from some of what I would call my more cynical readers. No, I’m not talking about you, but maybe you know one.

Anyway, hope you enjoy the interview.

1) Why did you write a book about commitment and how does it relate to marketing?

A:I think the main thing I started out to do with this topic was to redefine the concept of commitment with regard to business. I’ve seen seemingly successful business owners who felt like their “commitment” to their business was sucking the life out of them. I wanted to frame commitment in terms of commitment to a higher purpose the business services. The marketing connection flows from the fact that when businesses promote why they do what they do, the natural outcome is a committed customer.

2) Where does the bottom line of business intersect with ideas like passion and purpose?

A: So often people try to find the bottom line in ideas that don’t seem very “business like” and that’s really a significant theme of this book. Art, passion, purpose, inspiration all produce incredibly practical outcomes when applied with clear intent. For me what that idea illustrates is the notion of extreme clarity – those one or two moments in life when you knew. The most important concept of this book is that of clarity – personal, professional, brand and purpose.

3) I’m in a very competitive marketplace, how will the principles of this book help me?

A: The principles I use to illustrate how to build a Commitment Engine – hunger for extreme clarity, culture of shared commitment and a ridiculous passion for community – are powerful tools in the right hands.

4) The book includes some touchy-feely ideas such as the idea of learning to be “present,” taking time for self-reflection and creating a “passion mantra.” Aren’t you concerned that these ideas might alienate some readers?

A: No, I am not worried that my point of view might turn a few people off, that’s actually my intent and it’s a central idea of the book. Authenticity is a very attractive quality in business and the only way to keep it and communicate it is to present a clear and consistent point of view and stick to it, knowing that there will be many for whom this point of view resonates.

5) What exactly is a passion mantra? And why should someone do it?

A: The idea of a passion mantra is a little like a core message might be in marketing, but it’s your internal life message. When you create a phrase or concept that you can return to daily it can snap you back a bit and remind you why you do what you do, particularly when you find yourself in the midst of chaos.

6) You devote an entire chapter to the idea of treating your “Staff as Customer.” Does it still make sense for businesses to invest like this in their employees?

A: The concept is not only possible it’s more important than ever. Your staff is treating your customers exactly as you are treating them. So, does it make sense for a business to invest in employees, well, I guess only if it makes sense to have customers. Where so many businesses get tripped up with the concept of investing in culture is that they think that means buying an espresso machine. The best investment a business owner can make in culture is to understand and communicate the higher purpose or “why” the business exists and find ways to amplify that in every action that impacts the staff.

7) There’s also a section called, “Staff as Owner,” which advocates for creating a culture of shared ownership. Surely you’re not suggesting that every business, even those with seasonal employees, adopt this?

Part of this has to do with mindset as well as physical ownership. Any business, particularly those that hire seasonal help, competes for the best people available and attracting people based on a higher purpose ensures you’ll attract a greater of number of people that fit.

8) The first section of the book implores owners to engage in some serious soul-searching about their level of passion and purpose they bring to their business. Is this a necessary step, before you can expect others (namely employees) to follow suit?

A: Actually I believe it’s a necessary step if you ever hope to establish a guiding vision for your business, strategy that allows your business to stand out and differentiate and focus on the priorities that will keep you on track. It’s pretty tough to give something to someone else until you possess it yourself.

9) Has all this social sharing that people do now days changed the language of business?

A: I think it’s changed a few things. Yes, I think the way we talk about business, the way we share and perhaps what we share has changed dramatically. For years I’ve been advocating the use of personal stories in marketing and widespread social media usage has certainly helped break down resistance to this notion as a leadership style.

10) You say there’s a big difference between the term “plans” and “planning”. I have a business plan explain why they’re so different?

A: So many people approach planning as though the end document is the goal. To me it’s the process of figuring out what not to do or what to leave out of the plan that is the greatest outcome of the planning process. That’s why I also believe that it’s essential to keep your plan alive through continual revisiting and pruning.

11) The book includes a section called the Committed Handbook. Does this document serve a similar function as a social media policy for employees?

A: I look at it a something more essential than what typically rests as a section of an employee handbook. This is clarity training and includes why we do what we do, core beliefs, marketing proposition, key stories and even updates on numbers and current state of the business.

12) What three ideas from the book would you want a reader to consider and contemplate?

1. Clarity is strategy
2. Culture is clarity amplified
3. Community is a natural outcome of clarity

If you enjoyed this interview you might want to hop on over and download a free chapter of The Commitment Engine – Making Work Worth It.

3 Real and Raw Stories About Being an Entrepreneur

I’ve been collecting stories of late about what it means to be an entrepreneur, about what work means, about value, purpose and passion.

Make Work Worth It eBookI started asking people about their work and about what makes work worth it to them.

I’ve collected many of these stories and find them both inspirational and quite telling about the real things people care about and dream about. (Download the Make Work Worth It Collection83 Stories of Passion and Purpose – no forms to fill, just grab it and share it.)

I also experienced a fair amount of fear, angst and doubt when I asked this question. Some have stopped wondering about why they do what they do, some have lost hope that any of it matters and some are just simply so busy they don’t stop to think about much of anything as it relates to purpose.

I’m on a mission to share this message and the profound impact that it can have on the lives of millions and millions of entrepreneurs and business owners toiling away in dreary and lifeless jobs.

If you haven’t connected with that thing that makes work worth it for you, do it now, take a bold step and change course, reconnect with your customers and employees and revel in the awesome opportunity that owning a business or simply going to work in a place that has meaning affords.

Tell your raw and real story and help others tell theirs. I really hope you choose to consider and share this collection of stories.

15 Do What You're Good At and the Money Will Follow

There’s a well-worn line of thought in entrepreneurial circles that suggests that if do what you love, the money will come.

photo credit: o4orange via photo pin cc

This one phrase has probably done more to hold business owners back from discovering their greatness than anything else I can imagine.

Not only is untrue it’s terribly limiting and painfully shortsighted.

The thing that simply trying to find work you love ignores is that most work is hard, particularly when it involves doing something you aren’t that good at.

Passion and purpose in work isn’t something you can simply identify and then go do, it evolves as you actually do it.

I’ve written a new book called The Commitment Engine, due out next month, and in it I spend a great deal of time suggesting that you do indeed need to pursue work you enjoy, but if you want the money, purpose and passion to come, you have to get really, really good at doing work you love.

In fact, in my experience you won’t really enjoy any work until you get good at it, so in some sense you must work very hard at getting good at some part of the work you do in order to find what you might be passionate doing.

And then once you gain some true sense of passion, proficiency and purpose, you can finally start to labor at turning your work into a craft.

You do this by continuously studying, practicing and stretching.

Studying

In business you can’t ever stop studying, it just must be on your to do list somewhere. This includes reading some combination of about 50 books a year, subscribing to and scanning 100 or so blogs and selectively attending conferences to gain exposure to new and bigger ideas.

I believe that you find purpose and passion in work by coming to recognize patterns – patterns in your own thinking, patterns in what customers want and need, patterns in how winning products and services are created, patterns in successful business models, patterns in compelling stories – consuming content, especially content and ideas from outside your industry is how you get very good at pattern recognition.

Further Reading – The Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander

Practicing

Business people always just perform, the rarely practice, particularly after they develop a level of competence. Speakers that rise to the highest fees practice far more than they perform. They participate in groups that push them and offer feedback, they have every aspect of their speech picked apart and reconstructed, they learn how to find and tell better stories, they hire coaches and they stand in front of the mirror and rehearse hour upon hour for a 30 minute presentation.

So, what does intentional practice look like in your business? How do you get better at your craft? How do figure out where you are, where you’re weak and where you can excel?

Further Reading – So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

Stretching

This is perhaps that place where excellence and proficiency, passion and passing part most. Those who discover work they truly love and then stretch far beyond their comfort level at every turn are those that stand that greatest chance of following their passion and finding the money.

Once you get “good” at what you love, you need to find a way to push yourself back out where you are terribly uncomfortable again or you’ll stop growing. Again, I believe this is the place where far too many people give and settle because this can be a pretty scary place.

See, once we get good at something, we tend to enjoy it more, so now I’m suggesting that you must deliberately make it hard again.

Almost everyone wants to write a book, so what’s the difference between wanting to write a book and writing a book? To me, the answer isn’t as simple as it may appear. The difference between those two things can consist of layers and layers of studying and practicing, but the key distinction is stretching – writing your first book is simply the act of doing something you’ve never done, no matter how prepared you may feel at the outset.

Further Reading – The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

So, my real advice today is suggest that you stop searching so hard for passion and purpose and go to work at something you enjoy doing, get really good at something in and process and let passion and purpose find you.

42 Introducing The Commitment Engine

The Commitment Engine

Introducing The Commitment Engine

As you can see from the image here, my third book – The Commitment Engine – Making Work Worth It is just about ready to go.

And, I would like to give you a free copy!

A bit more on that in a minute, but first, what’s the book about?

This book is undoubtedly the riskiest thing I’ve ever written, but it contains a message that I think needs to be spread and shared. In this book I share a lot of personal thoughts and feelings about why I do what I do and what I’m passionate about when it comes to work.

I share tons of stories from entrepreneurs that have discovered a higher purpose their business serves and how they found the clarity to build a business that brings them joy as well as success.

I map out a system for building a business that people want to commit to.

I also use words like love and grace in the context of business and talk a great deal about building a culture and community based on these concepts and for some that’s just not that comfortable.

So, while I fully expect there will be those that won’t find this book as relevant as my past offerings, I also fully expect that many will find this book brave, important and thought provoking – and that’s who I wrote this book for.

You’ll find important lessons about clarity, culture and community from a software developer in Chicago, a janitorial service in Ohio, a telephone answering service in Delaware and a skylight manufacturer in Iowa as well as my take on living and breathing business ownership every day for over twenty-five years.

Here’s what my friend Guy Kawasaki had to say about The Commitment Engine:

“Not often enough, a book comes along and injects a breath of fresh air into the world of business. This is one of those books.”

Want to get a taste? You can download the table of contents, Introduction and first chapter here:

Now, about that free copy.

The Commitment Engine hits the shelves Oct 11. In an effort to get the ball rolling on some pre-orders I will ship the first 400 people who pre-order a copy a second copy free! My publisher will even pay the shipping and you’ll get your free copy before anyone else can even buy one. (Sorry, publisher says U.S. addresses only)

All you have to do is buy a copy using one of the links below and then return to the form listed below and submit your order details so we can ship your free book right away. (Your purchase can be Kindle version or hardback)

Don’t wait – the last time I did this the free copies were gone in a day!

Order links:

Form link: (Come back here and submit your receipt details)
https://ducttapemarketing.wufoo.com/forms/buy-one-get-one-promotion/

Thanks for your continued and overwhelming support all these years!

 

25 What Makes Work Worth It To You

The title of this post might be one of the most important questions that entrepreneurs never ask – or at least fail to consider the answer to frequently enough.

The Commitment Engine - Making Work Worth ItTruly understanding the answer to this question may define the difference between a feeling of success or failure in business – regardless of how well a business seems to do outwardly.

I’ve written an entire book on this notion called The Commitment Engine – Making Work Worth It. (Oct 2012) The book is a study in how entrepreneurs find and commit to work worth doing and then how they build an organization with a culture based on work worth doing and finally how they create a community that believes in and wants to be a part of the work worth doing.

The book features some pretty amazing stories from some pretty amazing entrepreneurs, but today I want to get your story. For the next few weeks I am collecting as many answers as possible to this seemingly simple question:

What Makes the Work You Do Worth It?

It’s such an interesting and at times arresting question. As I’ve begun to pose it to more and more individuals I’ve come to appreciate the distinction between those that know it immediately, without hesitation, and those that ask to get back to me or what my deadline is.

Here’s what I’ve learned. If you don’t know the answer to this question off the top of your head, you’ve got some work to do. I don’t say that as a form of judgment, it’s just that I’ve become convinced that it’s nearly impossible to be fully alive in this world without a commitment to some purpose that makes the work you do worth it.

And the funny thing about this idea is that it doesn’t matter what that is, as long as there’s a strong commitment. I’ve interviewed people that gain a great deal of success serving a higher purpose that involves changing lives for the better and I’ve also spoken with those that understand their work and the money it brings simply serves a means to a different end that fulfills them.

There’s no right answer and that may be part of the challenge because we immediately think a term like “higher purpose” should point us in a spiritual direction, but it doesn’t need to. The only thing that matters is that we understand and connect to why we do what we do – end of story.

Again, please take a minute and share your work story in the form of answer to this question – What make the work you do work it?  please add it to this form

I want to share two very different stories I’ve collected because I think they help illustrate just how important, yet how unique, this idea is to each individual. (I plan to share lots of these stories, including yours, over the next few week.)

1) Penelope Trunk – penelopetrunk.com

What Makes the Work You Do Worth It?

I get paid. That’s what makes the work I do worth it. Because I already know how I like to spend my time. I don’t need to get paid to do stuff I love. I’d do it anyway. But I need to feed my family. So I adjust the stuff I love to do so that I can get paid for it.

For example, I would probably lock myself in a room and write my memoir, but I’m scared that I wouldn’t earn enough money while I was doing it. So i write almost a memoir via my blog, and I get paid really well for it.

And I love speaking, and I’d speak to large groups for free because it’s so fun. But I get paid $10K a speech if I talk about Generation Y, so I do that, even though, to be honest, I’m totally sick of talking about Generation Y and they are the most conservative, non-risktaking generation to come along since World War I and why can’t we stop doing speeches about them already?

So I think it’s totally disingenuous for anyone to answer this question with anything but “I get paid”. Because the difference between what we do for work and what we do because we love it is that we get paid. No one gets to do 100% of what they love for work. That’s not how the world works.

Those of us who are happiest in our work are getting paid to do something we really enjoy.

2) Jonathan Fields – Good Life Project

What Makes the Work You Do Worth It?

A few key elements make the work I do worth it.

First is a deep sense of alignment. I wake up every morning excited to create experiences and solutions that are organic extensions of who I am, what I care about and what people want, need and value. I feel like the work I do matters. To me and to the people I serve. And it lights me up along the way.

Second is the pursuit of craft and mastery. As a an author, entrepreneur, artist and web-producer, I spend much of my days pursuing craft and mastery. I geek out over language, twists of phrases, metaphors and storytelling that rises to the level of transcendence engine. I love the challenge of creating immersive experiences for clients, readers and customers that leave them in some way changed. Striving to solve complex problems and teaching people how to do the same makes me giddy.

Whether I ever achieve that elusive state of mastery isn’t so much the point, but the quest, the journey, the voracious seeking after the craft is something that pulls me to do more of what I do.

Third, it’s about the people. I’ve launched, built and sold a few companies and am current building a number of global digital tribes and ventures. People often ask what the best part of entrepreneurship is. Is it the money? The freedom? The glory? It’s not any of those, most of which take an insane amount of work and years to come if they ever do.

The real magic lies the opportunity to hand pick the people you surround yourself with and cultivate a culture of joy, respect, service, delight, connection and impact. You get to build a hive of people you can’t get enough of, and that makes a huge difference in the way you experience each day.

Last thing, family is the heartbeat of everything. I’ve worked to build my career in a way allows me to be deeply present in the lives of my wife and daughter and also take care of myself (still a work in progress, lol). Because, it’s not enough to be physically there, but checked out or so sick and burnt that I’m not really there. I want to be physically, emotionally and spiritually present, which means creating time for the self-care needed to build this foundation.

This list is by no means all-inclusive, but it contains the big rocks for me, the things that make the work I do worth it.

The Commitment Engine is due in stores in October and I’ll certainly offer my share of promotional opportunities over the next 6-8 weeks, but today I simply want to ask you to share your story. Click here to share your story

16 How to Remain Human In a Technology Flattened World

The way we work, shop, meet and collaborate has changed forever.

We now possess the technology that makes the need to meet face to face in the traditional business sense a thing of the past.

mhauri via Flickr CC

Equipped with text messaging, instant messaging, video messaging, and a host of web based tools for project and client management and collaboration, it’s possible to create an efficient business run from just about anywhere you can obtain an Internet connection.

However, all this efficiency comes with a price. Without frequent, genuine and rich interaction with the people in your life working towards shared outcomes something very meaningful is lost.

Hugs and handshakes are what make us human and they are in many ways a part of what makes doing what we do worth it.

While working and selling globally, assembling staff from around the nation and meeting clients via video have become the new reality in our technology flattened world, there are a handful of practices that I believe can help return or maintain a more human element to the virtual workspace.

The human mindset

First and foremost as we interact across time and space we have to remember that these are human beings we are interacting with. I know that sounds almost absurd, but there’s something sterilizing about the video monitor that somehow makes us more like machines – machines with bad manners.

The human mindset in the virtual world calls for an obsession with basic politeness. Be early, be thankful, be kind, be caring. Take the time to ask how someone is doing, what they are excited about or what they need help them with.

Bring this mentality to your technology and you’ll restore some of the humanness that it robs.

The human routine

The use of virtual staff, assistants and providers makes it easy to conduct business much like it’s one big transaction.

In the virtual world it’s essential that you not lose all sense of human business routine. When you work with virtual assistants, graphic designers, copywriters, take the time to set up a meeting just to get to know them. Some of this could be in the form of an interview, but the more you know a person the more you’ll understand their unique abilities and that’s how you create a great working relationship and that’s how everyone wins.

Create regularly scheduled meetings just to check in and use these to keep focused on managing the relationship as well as the work.

The human meeting

I wrote a post last week about how to start meetings on a high note. It got so much response it served to highlight the lack of humanness in our meetings, both in person and online.

In the post I suggested that every meeting start by asking participants to share one thing professionally and personally they were very excited about.

This human touch is so profoundly missing from flat screen interaction that simply starting a virtual meeting in this fashion can return a sense of joy to the otherwise dreaded meeting.

The human touch

You probably saw this last one coming, but in the virtual cocoon we live and work, it’s become essential that you force yourself out into real life.

You may have every last client work detail hammered out via your online portal, so take three or four clients to lunch, just to get to know them better.

Go to three or four conferences a year, just to meet some of the people that comment on your blog posts.

Reach out to people whose work you admire and see if they can grab coffee the next time you’re in their town.

Everything I’ve mentioned in this post is both obvious and natural, but somehow the lack of real space makes it less so. You can fuse what’s great about technology with what’s great about human inspiration and bring it back into the workplace if you simply choose to remain human.

8 How To Use Fifteen Minutes a Day to Create a Culture of Accountability

It’s great to have a plan. Even better to charge out and begin to execute the plan. But, to keep your plan alive day in and day out, you’ve got to have a routine that holds everyone accountable for all things big and small.

Image joncandy via Flickr

To keep commitment high and reinforce a culture based on your objectives you need to install a systematic approach to meetings that allows people to be heard, get help, pose ideas, participate, learn, grow, move projects forward, and stay connected.

This will include annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly and even daily planned sessions designed to accomplish specific tasks.

I can almost hear some collective groaning coming from my readers, but trust me on this. If you do this right, you’ll wonder how you ever succeeded without it. You may find that more gets done in terms of actual work and real team building in a month using this system than at any time in your business.

First off, have everyone in the organization sketch out their near term plans. The projects they need or intend to get done in the 30, 60, and 90 days based on your overall marketing or business plan. This should be an ongoing moving process and will be one of the tools used in your meeting system.

Daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly

Every organization, depending upon the number of employees and other logistics, will have slightly differing needs, but the basic framework should look something like this:

Quarterly meetings – These meetings should be used to give “state of the business updates” that will likely include financial data and reporting on goals and objectives for the year.

One of the ways that many organizations reinforce core values is to choose a quarterly theme that relates to one of your stated core values and plan activities and initiatives that highlight the chosen value. I’ll go into more detail about this specific tactic in a subsequent chapter on culture.

These meetings should be fun and celebrate achievements, milestones and accomplishments that may fall outside the realm of work.

Monthly meetings – These meetings may include financial and milestone reporting, but should also include teaching.

One of my favorite ways to include teaching in the monthly meeting is to select a member of the staff, regardless of department, and charge them with leading a session about their department or function’s specific initiatives, goals and achievements.

This can be a fun way to “get to know accounting” or “showcase the new advertising campaign.”

Weekly functional meetings – It gets a little trickier once you start breaking meetings down to functional teams or departments. This is where organizations with flat structures (everyone reports to one boss) start to choke. If you’re the boss and you manage everyone in the organization, this tactic will reveal why you can’t continue this practice.

The good news is that this process and the project planning process I wrote about recently are how you start to create a management structure in your organization where perhaps none existed previously.

In fact, many organizations find that the sheer act of planning creates its own logical team organization structure based on who can be and is responsible for projects.

The focus of the weekly meeting is project movement. If you have a very small staff this may be a weekly staff meeting, but the focus is still to get updates on projects. If you have a very organization you may logically conduct these in small groups around projects.

Some mid-sized organizations hold weekly all hands meetings in addition to functional staff meetings in an effort to highlight their most important initiatives.

VML, a digital marketing agency located in Kansas City, holds an all staff meeting every Tuesday morning with the primary purpose of highlighting the organization’s community, non-profit and charitable activities. The brief meeting is also frequently used as a way to recognize staff members who exemplified core values during the coarse of the week.

Daily functional huddle

The concept of the daily huddle has been used in large business for years and has had a huge impact on organizations such as Ritz Carlton, Johnson & Johnson and 3M. Verne Harnish, author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits did a great deal to popularize the notion in small business circles. Harnish contends that this was one of Rockefeller’s core concepts used while building Standard Oil.

While some may view this tactic purely in terms of efficiency I think it’s one of the greatest ways to build team commitment and spirit and once again reinforce purpose.

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