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There’s a lot of wisdom in Simon Sinek’s book, Leaders Eat Last.  

Simon talks about how in the military, officers feed their troups first . . . and always eat last.

This may seem counter intuitive . . . but it's not! Officers honor their responsibility to those who serve under them by taking care of their needs first . . . and we can learn a lot from them.

When we take care of our employees or team or division first, they take care of the people important to us . . . our clients and customers.

One way to do this is to give everyone a voice, an opportunity to be appreciated and heard.

Imagine your next meeting . . . where you spoke LAST . . . no one knowing your views on the subject of the meeting . . . no thoughts or comments shared after each person speaks . . . NO nodding your head in approval or disapproval . . . 

Could you do this? What would happen if you did?

My challenge to you is to give it go . . . If you really want your people to energized, enthusiastic and willing to give their best to succeed.

Can this be challenging? Yes. 

For me, it felt like skiing down a mountain for the first time as a young adult (. . . I had just moved to Colorado). . . you want me to point the tips of my skis DOWN the mountain . . . are you crazy? 

Even if what I share goes counter to everything inside of you . . . pretend you have a pen in your mouth and cannot speak and watch the magic unfold. ( P.S. Each meeting will get better and better . . . as your people learn the new 'rules' . . . and feel more and more comfortable contributing.)

Want specifics? Here's a step-by-step guide to running your next meeting . . .

Circulate a memo outlining the purpose of the meeting and what will be discussed. State the facts. Be straight forward, clear and succinct. Don’t share any of your thoughts or feelings on the matter (. . . with anyone!)

Schedule the meeting a few days later, setting time limits and parameters for the meeting.

Start the meeting by succinctly presenting the topic and welcome all discussion, all comments, ideas, innovations, concerns and thoughts.

Allow everyone to speak.

If someone doesn’t volunteer, ask for their input.

Make sure that no one monopolizes the conversation.

Have clear boundaries and let everyone know in advance that this is a group effort, and that everyone will have equal time to participate.

Set time limits if necessary if monopolizers or know-it-alls are in the room.

Keep people on topic. If someone wanders off, thank them and let them know that this topic is for another meeting.

Thank everyone after they have shared. No feedback, verbal or non-verbal. Simply, “Thank. you, Frank . . . Julie, what are your thoughts on the matter?”

Be genuinely curious. Ask open ended questions:

  • “Tell me more about that?”
  • “What do you mean when you say…..”
  • “Thanks for sharing….., Indra. I’m curious how that would affect…..” “Joe, do you have any thoughts about that?”

Keep the meeting flowing and moving forward. Specifically asking different people in the room for their input or comments based upon what someone else has shared can be a great way to be inclusive.

Wrapping up the meeting after everyone has shared, go around the room as ask each person for their ‘take away’. . . . "Jennifer, what's your take away for today's meeting?" . . . Or, just ask a few key people if that's not possible. . . because of time constraints.

Thank everyone for their input. THEN . . . briefly share your thoughts and feelings on the matter. Your vision. How you see things . . . giving yourself permission to change what you are going to say based on the great ideas and comments you have heard!

Close the meeting by either making a decision or letting everyone know that you will ponder all that has been shared and get back to them shortly.

The bottom line is . . . come to the meeting OPEN to what everyone has to share . . . as if you know nothing . . . open to all possibilities. The youngest, most inexperienced person there could be the one to offer the best idea. 

And, in so doing . . . you build openness . . . your people feel heard. They are a part of the decision-making process! And . . . that builds trust and buy in to what you ultimately decide.

Does this intrigue you?  Feel free to contact me - our time together is free.  Text 720.936.2634.

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