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Tips From A Wildly Productive Meeting

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Author: Dr. Teresa Evans | Category: Career Development | January 17, 2017

This is not a blog about how to lead a successful meeting, for one of those go here, but rather how to tell if a meeting was time well spent. Today, I had a meeting where I left knowing more than I did before and I was enlightened about who I wanted to become. These types of meetings, in the life of an academic in my case, can be few and far between. As you progress up the ranks of an academic institution, your days become increasingly full of MEETINGS.

Often it can seem to your friends and family that your job is simply to attend meetings all day. “Do you ever accomplish anything?” they ask. Well, today I did accomplish something. I sat down across the table from some new and some old colleagues and had a conversation that resulted in me seeing the world in a different light and having a few new tools in my toolbox to share with you.

So what did I learn? I learned about the power of Joy in one’s career. My colleague reference the book, Joy Inc. I later reviewed the book and found the following:

- Removing barriers, even in the form of walls, creates and environment where people are more collaborative. Further, this environment attracts like individuals and makes recruiting strong team members more efficient.

- Could you work in an environment where everything is done in a minimum of a team of 2? Well, this is what is suggested by the author of Joy Inc. All work should be done in groups to increase communication and creativity. My first step in this is to keep my door open more and encourage my team members to do the same. Baby steps are okay right?

- Why do we all do what we do? Is it for ourselves? To get a paycheck? NO, we create products for a user in some form. So, if there is no joy in what we are creating for the end user then it’s not worth creating at all! I will definitely keep this in mind as I craft my presentations for this year’s round of orientation presentations. The students should feel Joy as a byproduct of my work!

Secondly, I learned the importance of WIGS. Not the kind that you wear on your head but rather, Wildly Important GoalS! WIGS were established by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Hulin in their bookAchieving your Wildly Important Goals: the 4 Disciplines of Execution.

When reviewing the book there is a lot of focused discussion on how WIGS can be used to keep a team focused and ensure that the organization win strategic “battles” to win the overall “war”. Or in other words, complete key goals in order to support the accomplishment of the organizations strategic mission. I would like to discuss how WIGS can be used for a multipassionate individual like myself in order to ensure that we accomplish our life’s mission. So, I have translated the 4 Disciplines proposed in the book below to fit this need:

1. Do not focus on more than 2 WIGS at once!

This one is key. At it’s root it is STAY FOCUSED. As a multipassionate individual I find myself diving deep into many different things and each thing seems equally important to the next. How do you choose which 2 to focus on? Well, what I am trying is really focusing on a mission statement. So, give it a shot, what is your mission statement? Don’t worry multipassionates, your statement can change throughout your career but what is it today? Try to create one that you are willing to stick with for at least 6 months. Write it on a post-it and keep it in your sights.

2. Choose battles to win the war.

This is making sure that you choose the 2 WIGS that best align with your mission. Also, they need to be the best poised to help you accomplish the mission. Think this one through. Don’t just jump into a goal without putting some strategy into it.

3. Don’t just walk away, discuss.

The traditional third rule is to not veto without talking with your team first. With personal career goals, be sure to discuss your choices with others. Don’t go blindly down the path but rather ask for guidance. Get some mentors and colleagues in your corner and brainstorm.

4. This one is great! You need to have an end in sight, in the form of X to Y by Then.

I now want to ask everyone who I consult to make their goals this way. For example, I will build a novel training program and increase participation from 20 to 50 students by January 2017.

Here’s a fast company article by the authors outlining the steps to start creating you own WIGS.

Wishing you productive and inspirational meetings!

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