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Elise Keith | Where the Action Is

244: Elise Keith: Unveil your system for successful meetings

Elise Keith Show Notes Page

Elise Keith found herself leading teams that fell apart. As part of her efforts to improve she learned she needed to spend more time connecting in meetings instead of being impatient and direct. Now, she teaches others systems and practices to conduct more successful meetings.

Elise Keith was born in Eugene, OR. Despite moving over 15 times before the age of 20, she ended up settling in Portland just over 100 miles to the north. She’s the eldest of between 2 to 4 siblings, depending on how you count it all up, and happy that her family’s predilection for multiple marriages resulted in a generous extra helping of loving grandparents for her children.

Growing up, Elise did well in school but had an incredibly difficult time staying awake in any of her classes except for band, theatre, and gym. This inspired her to get a degree in the performing arts, after which she embarked on a post-collegiate quest to live out a real-life “Pancake House Waitress Turns Superstar!” fantasy.

When it became clear that the waitressing part of the story was going to last a bit too long for comfort, Elise swapped her acting dreams for another kind of fantasy world. She joined an internet startup.

There, she discovered plenty of real-life drama, intrigue, and opportunity every day, often in meetings.

Since then, she’s worked to understand what makes meetings work well and what happens when teams run consistently successful meetings.

Elise discovered that nearly every business expert, leadership coach, sales executive, marketer, and influencer has a cherished set of “meeting hacks” that power their success, and that when you look at these practices in the aggregate, clear patterns emerge.

She captured some of these insights in her book Where the Action Is: The Meetings that Make or Break Your Organization, and today she leads the team at Lucid Meetings as they work with organizations worldwide to help them implement a system of successful meetings that drives performance and brings teams joy.

Elise lives in Portland, OR with her husband, two of their five kids, and a curly-haired Lagotto puppy named Mabel.

Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @lucidmeetings to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShowClick to Tweet

“It’s almost like a Pavlovian conditioned response, you ring the meeting bell and people get upset.” – Click to Tweet

“That initial mindset creates a belief that meetings are a waste of time.” – Click to Tweet

“There are skills to be had and skills to master when it comes to meetings themselves.” – Click to Tweet

“There is an underlying structure to every effective meeting.” – Click to Tweet

“Effective meetings get everybody thinking about the same topic in the same way at the same time.” – Click to Tweet

“Work experience, as we all know, is just another synonym for culture.” – Click to Tweet

“Discipline is simply remembering what you actually want.” – Click to Tweet

“Meetings are not an individual performance event.” – Click to Tweet

“A detailed vision of where you’re trying to go makes getting there so much easier.” – Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Elise Keith found herself leading teams that fell apart. As part of her efforts to improve she learned she needed to spend more time connecting in meetings instead of being impatient and direct. Now, she teaches others systems and practices to conduct more successful meetings.

Advice for others

A detailed vision of where you’re trying to go makes getting there so much easier.

Holding her back from being an even better leader

Impatience

Best Leadership Advice

Say “Thank You” more often.

Secret to Success

Remembering that mindset is a choice

Best tools in business or life

Zoom

Recommended Reading

Where the Action Is: The Meetings That Make or Break Your Organization

Liminal Thinking: Create the Change You Want by Changing the Way You Think

Contacting Elise Keith

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elisekeith/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lucidmeetings

Website: https://www.lucidmeetings.com/

Resources and Show Mentions

Call Center Coach

An Even Better Place to Work

Show Transcript: 

[expand title=”Click to access edited transcript”]

244: Elise Keith: Unveil your system for successful meetings

Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader podcast where we uncover the leadership life hacks that help you to experience, breakout performance faster and rocket to success and now here’s your host customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach. 

 

Call Center coach develops and unites the next generation of call center leaders. Through our e-learning and community individuals gain knowledge and skills and the six core competencies that is the blueprint that develops high-performing call center leaders. Successful supervisors do not just happen. So go to callcentercoach.com to learn more about enrollment and download your copy of the Supervisor Success Path e-book now.

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay, Fast Leader legion, today I’m excited because I have somebody on the show who is really going to help you to understand that something you thought you were good at you’re really not but then she’s also going to help you fix it.

 

Elise Keith was born in Eugene, Oregon. Despite moving over 15 times before the age of 20, she ended up settling in Portland just over 100 miles to the north. She’s the eldest between two to four siblings depending on how you count it all up and happy that her family’s pre-delection for multiple marriages resulted in a generous extra helping of loving grandparents for her children. Growing up Elise did well in school but had an incredibly difficult time staying awake in any of her classes except for band, theater and gym. This inspired her to get a degree in the performing arts after which she embarked on a post-collegiate quest to live out a real-life pancake house waitress turned superstar fantasy. 

 

When it became clear that the waitressing part of the story was going to last a bit too long for comfort, Elise swapped her acting dreams for another kind of fantasy world. She joined an Internet startup. There she discovered plenty of real-life drama, intrigue, and opportunity every day often in meetings since then she worked to understand what makes meetings work well and what happens when teams run consistently successful meetings. Elise discovered that nearly every business expert leadership, coach sales executive marketer, and influencer has a chair set of meeting hacks that power their success. That’s when you look at these practices in aggregate, you find a clear pattern emerging. She captured some of these insights in her book, Where the Action is: The Meetings That Make or Break Your Organization. Today she leads the team at lucid meetings as they work with organizations worldwide to help them implement a system of successful meetings that drives performance and brings teens joy. Elise lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, two of their five kids, and a curly-haired Lagotto puppy named Mabel. Elise Keith are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Elise Keith:    Let’s do it. 

 

Jim Rembach:    I’m glad you’re here. Now I’ve given my legion a little bit about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better.

 

Elise Keith:    So my current passion is unveiling that underlying system for successful meetings. It’s this ability that they have in the best of the best teams to know when they’re going to talk, what they’re going to talk about, and do it in a way that brings out the strength and the joy for everybody involved.

 

Jim Rembach: Now you say that with such grace and simplicity that hides all the complexity underneath. One of the things that you’re talking about very early on the book is this Doom loop which was not reflective in what you said your passion was. So you need to tell us what the Doom loop is.

 

Elise Keith: So oftentimes when people find out that I am a meeting expert, they will immediately say to me, oh, my gosh, you should see our meetings. I’m in meetings back-to-back. Oh! What a terrible waste of time… they have this really ugly reaction and it’s almost like sort of a Pavlovian conditioned response and you bring the meeting bell and people get upset. That belief center, that when you start to talk about this topic, you’re talking about something that’s frustrating and negative and a drain on your time and your will to live, gets in people’s way of understanding and taking action that they can take to really uncover what a wonderful opportunity we have in our meetings. So when you get in and you dig a little bit deeper, tell me about a meeting you had, talk to me about what it was like to be interviewed, talk to me about what it was like when you had a chance to sit in the room where they made that big decision and you can see people light up there’s joy there there’s connection there. So the Doom loop, and what we talked about in the whole first part of the book is how that initial mindset creates

this belief that meetings are a waste of time which oftentimes leads people to fail to prepare for them, fail to take them seriously, thereby leading many, many ineffective meetings that are a waste of time and then reinforcing that loop, they’re stuck in their own perpetual cycle. When you can break that, when you can see what’s actually happening and what that opportunity looks like, then you’re in a place to make great change.

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay as you’re talking I started thinking of taxes. Taxes, it’s like misery. However unlike taxes there is hope that there is an opportunity to actually have that better outcome like you’re talking about. You talk about mastering two different things. One is you talk about mastering in meetings and then mastering the meetings at work. So if you could start with what do you mean by mastering in meetings 

 

Elise Keith: So, if you go out and you read like “Hey how do I run better meetings?” on the Internet, you’re going to find a million articles and they all have three to five tips about coming prepared and understanding what the purpose is and keeping people on task and all of that. That’s not wrong. So there are skills to be had and skills to master when it comes to running meetings themselves, any given meeting there are some basics and that’s what mastering the work in meetings is about. So one of those core skills that apply across the board, how do you learn them? How do you apply them?

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay. So you talked about, in that chapter it’s broken down it says “The core competencies, the function reading structure, helping up perceived meeting quality, the spectrum of meeting engagement, designing for a net positive impact, and then the game changers. So if you could kind of walk us through when you, cause for me it’s like when you start saying mastering in it’s not a clear picture. So walking through that a little bit will help.

 

Elise Keith: So essentially when you zoom back from it a little bit there is an underlying structure to every effective meeting and that structure is designed to help a group of people who are coming in as individuals. Duh, we’re all human. Walking in to this room from whatever it is we’ve been doing before. And we all have our own things in our own cares and our own worries, into a room where we’re meant to be thinking together about whatever the topic it is in the same way at the same time. So let’s take a really simple example, you call a meeting because an emergency has come up and you need to know what to do. You get five people in that room. You say, hey, Jim there’s an emergency, what are we going to do? And your initial reaction might be, well, we definitely need to call these people and rally the troops and whatnot. My reaction might be, “Well, what is the emergency? Let’s understand it better.” Fred’s reaction might be “You know what I don’t even think there’s an emergency, you guys are a bunch of

Ninnies.” We’re talking about the same topic but we’re not thinking about it in the same way. So effective meetings get everybody thinking about the topic in the same way at the same time so that they can actually build on shared understanding together. That’s what all of those skills are about.

 

Jim Rembach:    Well even as you’re saying that, I start thinking about the whole human dynamic and getting in the whole cognitive sciences and unconscious biases and all the baggage that we have from that, like you say, in that previous meeting component and what my reaction “Oh gosh! Not another emergency.” All of these factors, I start thinking of the difficulties and being able to just start appropriately, start correctly, so that you have that desired outcome. So when I start thinking about the skills and the competencies, and so one of the things I also think is important is a lot of times is we have to clarify is that you have competencies and then skills are derived from those competencies.

 

Elise Keith: Right.

 

Jim Rembach:    So when I start looking at the competencies, what’s one of the critical ones that you often find people need to develop?

 

Elise Keith: Clarity of purpose. How do you have a very, very clear understanding of why you’re getting people into the room and what that conversation is meant to achieve. That’s absolutely the starting competency period, it’s actually much more difficult than we think it is because our innate sort of human interaction style which we learned in school and in our families is “Hey show up and we’ll talk and we’ll see what happens.” Which is completely ineffective in a business meeting perspective.

 

Jim Rembach:    Well as you say that, one of the things that I like to follow up with after that is intent. So, clarity of purpose and then you run into talk about the intent.

 

Elise Keith: Yeah. That’s exactly it. So here’s why we’re getting together, that’s purpose is why it’s verb and then intent or outcomes. Literally what are we creating? Because meetings are an investment of your business resources. We all know that and that’s part of what gets used to argue to cancel them or make them shorter. It’s like we’re spending time and money here but they’re also a powerful tool for creating tangible outcomes. There’s nobody in a customer situation which says “You know what, every meeting I have with a customer, I want to keep it short as possible. That’s my key value I’m going to get out of that relationship.” It’s like you’re going to get contract signs, you’re going to create trust you’re going to get goodwill, that’s what your key relationships are. So having clarity of that intent helps which skills to bring to bare and how to design that conversation.

 

Jim Rembach:    I think that’s a beautiful starting point. Then we start getting into the whole mastering the meetings at work. So what is the difference?

 

Elise Keith: So oftentimes when we look at “How do you get better at meetings?” We do in fact stop right where we just took it. There are some core skills you need to have. You need to understand that. It’s a good use of time and run a good meeting. Well who here has a business where there’s only one meeting? Okay, that’s not our case. We have lots and lots and lots of meetings and oftentimes when people come to me they say “Elyse, We really need you to come in and work with our organization. We absolutely need your help. We’re in terrible meetings all the time.” and I say “Okay, great. Let’s schedule something for next month.” And they said “Oh no, no, no, we can’t do that. We’re in back-to-back meetings, we have no time to think.” So right there you know that there is no way they have time. So sit back and go “How do I make each and every one of these back to back to back to back meetings an effective use of everybody’s time?” It doesn’t exist. The organizations that have broken that cycle have done so by having designed upfront, how each of those meetings needs to run in a way that is transferable, It’s easy for everybody to pick up, they learn by doing, and they end up with this underlying system of expectations and support and training and models that break that cycle.

 

Jim Rembach:    Well as you’re saying that too, I start thinking about what I often see as something that

Occurs. If you are more effective and you have these frameworks is that the reality is, is that your need for meetings goes down dramatically.

 

Elise Keith: Dramatically. Yeah. It’s fun when you put in a system that takes and organizes the conversations into clear different distinct conversations. So we know we’re doing strategy here. We know if a problem comes up we’ll deal with it there and then. You do the math and you can see that both performance goes up, engagement goes up, and the time spent in meetings goes down dramatically. So it’s a quadruple bonus win for everybody.

 

Jim Rembach:    Most definitely. I think also that gets back into where we initially started to close the loop is that you know people don’t have that doom feeling again. It’s like they feel like this burden has been lifted and that’s so much more is getting accomplished and that they will actually come to those meetings and you don’t have a lot of unconscious and also conscious biases that actually you have to now get over.

 

Elise Keith: Yeah it’s actually one of my favorite. We have a process we call red velvet roping. Where we decide who we’re going to work with and who who’s not really ready to work with us from an organization perspective and my favorite litmus test question is to ask an employee “Tell me about your meetings” because if you want to get at what their work experience is like and work experience as we all know is just another synonym for culture of their organization. That question is entirely revealing and then there are some organizations where they will say “Oh yes what the rumors are true. We do do that and I love it.” or they’ll say things like “Well, rich ones. Because my meetings like this are we run them this way and I know this process.” They’ll get very specific in detail. The most common answer is “Meetings, I hate them. What a waste of time.”

 

Jim Rembach:    Well I think there’s a couple of words that you’re hinting on here and we’re going to get on just a second, is that you talk about types of meetings and when I started actually looking at the book and what are your parts in the book is just part four it talks about sixteen types of meetings that work and I’m like sixteen of them and as I started reading through I’m like oh I never really considered some of these meetings. So we have informal, we have formal, we have things that are like you say unplanned, we have all kinds of different meetings. I just want to run through this list of sixteen real quick so that people can get proper context and then we’ll come back and talk about two of the biggest opportunities that you often see as far as the meetings are concerned. 

 

So you talk about the Cadence meeting, Team Cadence, progress check, one-on-ones, action reviews, governance cadence, the catalyst meetings, idea generation, planning, problem solving, decision making, workshops, the learn and influence meetings, sense making, introductions,  issue resolutions, community of practice, training and broadcast. So that’s a pretty extensive list and we’re not going to go into all these that’s what you get the book for or at least one. If you’re talking about those two big opportunities where do they exist?

 

Elise Keith: So the two big opportunities is, there are two places where they exist. One is right up front there in the skills portion where you do some basic agreements within your company about what kind of foundational expectations you should have for your meetings. As a team what is our working team agreement around meetings so that we can have a framework where we can begin to develop competencies, expectations, respect. It’s really all about respect. So this is how we’re going to use our time together. With that in place what you find is that teams then start to open the door to getting to the next big opportunity and that’s understanding those different kinds of meetings and how to put them together into systems or processes that achieve business goals. 

 

So let me give you an example of what one of those systems looks like. In my company we run service projects and software projects and often some of those involve sort of a long term pilot. We’ll do like a four month pilot to onboard a new client. As that pilot progresses, my team knows which meetings they will run at each stage of the process to make sure they get the clients to the outcomes that they’ve bought from us. So they know when they’re going to do a kickoff. They know how the decisions will be made. They know what the larger vision is. They know how they’re going to address all of the things that will inevitably come up because something always goes a line in any event and they know exactly how to run each one of those

conversations in advance. So when my team pulls on a client like that they are calm, they’re confident, and they’re prepared. They don’t have all the answers, they don’t know how it’s going to run but they’ve got a system that’s going to make all of those conversations run smoothly. It’s a huge enabler, it’s a huge enabler and those kinds of systems are available for every team trying to achieve a business goal.

 

Jim Rembach:    We kind of started at this talking about the human element, started talking about the differentiation between folks and all these different dynamics and so when I start thinking about getting every single person on the same page through all this. You talked about some of the organizational agreements this any other ultimately what you work up into the book is called so it’s something called a communication of architecture. So there’s two things. If you can kind of explain what that means and then also how you get that individual commitment because I’m always thinking about that person that does one or two things, maybe always takes us off paths like “No, no, o reel back it up pull them back in” or that person who just like really doesn’t contribute. So if you could kind of tell us a little bit about the architecture and then addressing those types of characters.

 

Elise Keith: So the architecture really is, it’s a combination of three elements. It’s those performance criteria. So the shared agreements about how we as a team and we as a company are going to meet. It’s the specific meetings we’re going to run. So how we do our check-ins, how we do our kickoffs, all of that kind of thing. Then it’s the support, so how do we make sure that we have the training and the infrastructure and the buckets of sticky notes. Whatever it is that we need to make that go. So that’s like a communication architecture is the intentional design of how your teams are going to collaborate to achieve your goals.

 

Jim Rembach:    Well I would dare to say that even when you start thinking about that, if I’m going to put that in place for an organization maybe I even want to start now to include that in my whole candidate review process and interview process and on the process and start making it part of your DNA.

 

Elise Keith: Absolutely, absolutely. In fact when we work with clients who are making that transition, we’ve actually recorded five levels of performance maturity in terms of how robust those systems can become and there is no reason for most organizations to go to the extremes. You can be entirely effective at different levels with different kinds of groups but as you grow in scale you do need to put more of that in place to avoid basically what we call the metastasizing meetings. The meeting cancer problem. A lot may eat your calendar. So, yes absolutely. Starting with sort of the key processes.

 

Now there’s a fascinating bit of research being done by ADP and Cisco. Where they were looking not at the problem of meetings but they were looking at the problem of employee engagements and team performance. So here’s an example of how they started to implement that system. They were like, they found that all the work happens in teams, some teams perform better than others and they wanted to look in practice what’s going on in the teams that perform better than others and what they found was that in practice those teams had more occurrences of positive energy exchange. So positive attention going between people. They put in a check-in process at a Cisco. They put in a check-in process that they were able to track with technology because they’re a big tech firm and they found that in the teams where the employee checked in with the manager and the manager gave back that attention, engagement went up, but they found, getting to your earlier question about the human dynamics that not everybody did it. Some employees didn’t check in, some managers didn’t reply. So they got much, more clear, much more explicit about that expectation and started to make meeting performance part of job performance. How the percentages of check-ins that the manager replies to directly became a part of how they were measured. They started replying more. What gets measured gets managed.

 

Jim Rembach:    Well and also it’s what you expect you must inspect.

 

Elise Keith: Absolutely, absolutely. And, engagement scores went up, performance got went up. There was a direct correlation between, “No we are in fact going to talk to each other positively about things we mutually care about regularly” and we perform better. 

 

Jim Rembach:    So Elise, I dare to say that when I started looking at all this work that you’re doing and the absolute sheer demand for it that you have a lot of things that you’re attempting to focus in on and I want to get to those in a second. Before we get that talking about the frustration element, talking about getting on the other side, a lot of times we have to just stay focused and persevere through all of this because we’re talking about transformation. Transforming the way that we’re actually interacting or working with one another and a lot of times we focus on quotes on our show to do that. Is there a quote or two that you like that you can share?

 

Elise Keith: One of my favorite quotes is “Discipline is simply remembering what you actually want, what you really want.” I think that’s key for those transformational moments. How do I put in the processes that help me remember? How do I make it simple for me to remember what I really want and stick to it?

 

Jim Rembach:    Going back to what you had talked about before, being able to set that expectation, being able to talk about the visioning, doing all of those things, that is a great quote for that. 

 

Elise Keith: I think one thing that’s really important to add to that while we’re talking about it and with the expectation setting, oftentimes as leaders that feels so burdensome. I have to tackle and take on these behaviors like the opting out or the interrupting or all of these things but if you step back and you look at it and you realize meetings are not an individual performance event. We never meet alone. Meetings are things that teams do. So simply saying these things out loud, inviting your team to participate with you in the monitoring of time and all of those things is actually a much faster way to transformation and it means you don’t have to do that by yourself.

 

Jim Rembach:    Well it’s kind of interesting to me because even looking at your bio and talking about where you came from and where you are now, really what you’ve been really engaged in are things that require you to practice and prepare before you have a performance. That’s what you’re talking about doing from a meeting perspective. You need to do all of those things in order for you and everybody to perform in meetings.

 

Elise Keith: You do but I think another great parallel to that is that if you’ve ever went to a parade and watch the military band go by, they’ve played Stars and Stripes forever, nine hundred million times. They don’t need to do a lot more rehearsal to make that exquisite. The guy on his hundredth run of cats is not like studying his lines real hard the day before. That’s why having a System, having some sense of how it’s meant to go and then practicing up into that makes that in a powerful enabler for the organizations that have those systems because then they can bring people in. The third cat and cats leaves, the new guy who comes in can see exactly how that runs they learn by doing. That’s the same is true in these high performance organizations. You go to the Navy SEALs and you go to an action review and this your first time in an action review, all those other seals have been through that thing a couple times. They know how it runs, they’re going to get you on it.

 

Jim Rembach:    That’s a great point. Well I would dare to say also too when you start talking about being able to come to the position that you are today and going through all these learnings and and all that as well as working with these organizations that there’s a lot of humps that you have to get over. So as far as your concern, do you have a time where you’ve gotten over the hump that you can share?

 

Elise Keith: So well I think actually a great example of transformation for me there is in how I start meetings. So I used to be, I’m very impatient, I’m very direct, and I used to be the kind of person who would walk in and say “Okay, this is on the agenda. Here’s what we’re going to do. Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go.” I found myself leading teams that would fall apart. The more I got into this work I went and visited with a coach and started learning about how to run agile meetings and I was sort of shocked and aghast to find that they all started with icebreakers. I’m like what is going on, aren’t these professionals? Why are we talking about our favorite kind of breakfast? But what I saw in practice is that the teams who took that moment to connect personally we’re able to then clear their extra baggage, come into the room and have the conversation. So learning that skill was an incredibly hard skill for me to learn because I wanted to be very professional and serious and get the things done but it has made an enormous difference in not only how we practice and share what we do with others but also how we succeed as a company ourselves.

 

Jim Rembach:    Well I would dare to say what you just talked about right there is actually a common thing that you probably run into because of many factors. One being you’re sharing where you were coming from, from a positioning perspective also another factor meaning “Hey, I’ve got five more behind this one, let’s go.” 

 

Elise Keith: Yeah.

 

Jim Rembach:    So how common is that particular issue, an opportunity present with the clients that you’re working with?

 

Elise Keith: You know I find it and I don’t know if this is transitioning but I find it to be incredibly common in the places where they have no good process. The meeting to meeting to meeting thing and they’re all stressed and rushed. I also find it to be more common when I meet with women leaders and I recognize this in myself as well. So I as a female employee, I came into an internet startup as one of the only female employees on the tech side and we were working so hard to be taken seriously professionally that often some of these softer skills which are now being called power skills correctly weren’t welcomed or we believe they weren’t welcomed. Getting to the place where you can unlearn that bad lesson take some courage and some time and some commitment to the larger result. 

 

Jim Rembach:    I would dare to say that what we think is what we should be doing, oftentimes is not going to help him benefit us and you’re exactly right. When I start thinking about this work, start thinking about the book, I started thinking about the opportunity, I started looking at a whole slew of opportunity even for those of you who are having the opportunity to watch this particular podcast versus listen to it. Elise has tons of masks on her back wall that are full of colors so I know there’s a lot of things that you had that feel your passion including we talked about your brand new puppy. When I start looking at goals, what would be one of your goals?

 

Elise Keith: One of my goals, vision wise, big vision wise we would love to see this whole conversation change and to have the recognition of meeting systems become a more common thing working its way into teams. On a personal goal level I would love to help create a center where people could come and experience and experiment with some of these practices. A meeting lab basically. A meeting invasion Center, wouldn’t that be exciting.

 

Jim Rembach:    Most definitely, and the Fast Leader Legion wishes you the very best.

 

Elise Keith: Thank you.

 

Jim Rembach:    Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor.

 

An even better place to work is an easy-to-use solution that gives you a continuous diagnostic on employee engagement along with integrated activities that will improve employee engagement and leadership skills in everyone. Using this award-winning solution is guaranteed to create motivated productive and loyal employees who have great work relationships with their colleagues and your customers. To learn more about an even better place to work visit beyondmorale.com/better. 

 

Alright here we go Fast Leader Legion it’s time for the Hump day Hoedown. Okay, Elise, the Hump day Hoedown is a part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Elise Keith, are you ready to hoedown?

 

Elise Keith: Let’s do it.

 

Jim Rembach:    All right. So what is holding you back from being an even better leader today?

 

Elise Keith: Impatience.

 

Jim Rembach:    What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?

 

Elise Keith: Say thank you more often.

 

Jim Rembach:    What is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life? 

 

Elise Keith: Zoom.

 

Jim Rembach:    What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

 

Jim Rembach:    Every other morning, remembering that mindsets a choice.

 

Jim Rembach:    And what would be one book that you’d recommend to our legion. It could be from any genre. Of course we’re going to put a link to where the action is on your show notes page as well.

 

Elise Keith: Liminal thinking by Dave Gray.

 

Jim Rembach:    Liminal thinking. Okay Fast Leader legion you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going too fastleader.net/elisekeith. Okay Elise this is my last hump day hoedown question. Imagine you were given the opportunity go back to the age of 25 and you can take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take it all you can only choose one. So what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

 

Elise Keith: Vivid visioning. That’s what I’d take because the ability to create a detailed vision of where you’re trying to go makes getting there so much easier.

 

Jim Rembach:    Elise I had fun with you today but can you please share with the Fast Leader Legion how they can connect with you.

 

Elise Keith: They can find me on our company website, which is at lucidmeetings.com 

 

Jim Rembach:    Elise Keith thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom and the Fast Leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump.

 

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps links from every show special offers and access the download and subscribe if you haven’t already head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.

 

END OF AUDIO 

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Rick Brinkman - Dealing with meetings you can't stand

152: Rick Brinkman: I wasn’t trying to make a joke

Rick Brinkman Show Notes Page

Rick Brinkman knew he had to get better at presenting. While presenting to a large group, he was unable to understand why everybody began to laugh hysterically. But he learned one thing that has helped him to move on to delivering hundreds of successful presentations since.

Dr. Rick Brinkman’s parents met in a Polish ghetto at the beginning of World War II. His father was German and his mother was Polish. They married and were sent to Auschwitz and survived through the grace of multiple miracles including finding each other again after the war.

Rick has always felt, even as a child, that he was on a mission to turn conflict into cooperation and he’s been doing his part by teaching communication, performing 4,000 programs in 17 countries over the last 30 years and writing 5 books published by McGraw-Hill. 

In his first book with McGraw-Hill, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand, How to Bring Out The Best in People at Their Worst, he describes how to transform universal difficult behaviors like whining, negativity, nitpicking, attacks, tantrums, sniping, know-it-alls, and passive yes, maybe and nothing people. That book is in its 3rd edition, has been translated into 25 languages and is used in college courses.

Whenever he would do trainings on difficult people the subject of meetings would always come up as many of these difficult behaviors occur in the meeting context. Though the strategies in the first book would be valid in the meeting context, a more effective plan is to put a meeting process in place that prevents them from occurring in the first place. His current release, Dealing with Meetings You Can’t Stand, Meet Less and Do More, provides that meeting process. 

In Rick’s experience everyone at a meeting has something of value to contribute, and when you put it all together, you get something greater. The integration of people’s different points of view on any subject creates what he calls Holographic Thinking [CE1]™. Holographic Thinking produces higher-quality ideas and solutions. And it does so quickly, so you can meet less and do more.

Rick currently resides in Portland, Oregon with his wife Lisa and two Siamese cats.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to Rick Brinkman to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“Every person I touch, touches so many more, it’s one big reaction.” -Rick Brinkman Click to Tweet

“We act in different ways depending on two factors, context or relationship.” -Rick Brinkman Click to Tweet 

“We have four basic intents – get things done, get things right, get along, and get appreciated.” -Rick Brinkman Click to Tweet 

“The caution zone is when people are not getting exactly what they need.” -Rick Brinkman Click to Tweet 

“We only know people in limited context and in relationship to ourselves.” -Rick Brinkman Click to Tweet 

“Recognizing in yourself is one of the quickest ways to recognizing well around you.” -Rick Brinkman Click to Tweet 

“You’re going to get more done in less time, begins in the preparation time.” -Rick Brinkman Click to Tweet 

“Meetings should really be for interaction, not information dissemination.” -Rick Brinkman Click to Tweet 

“How would you like to try a process that will make our meetings shorter and more productive?” -Rick Brinkman Click to Tweet 

“Everybody hates meeting, universally.” -Rick Brinkman Click to Tweet 

“It’s important to think of a meeting like an airplane flight.” -Rick Brinkman Click to Tweet 

“As part of a meeting you need three things – air traffic control, flight recording, and time limits.” -Rick Brinkman Click to Tweet 

“When you make communication visual, it remains over time, and prevents repetition.” -Rick Brinkman Click to Tweet 

“Every idea is the end result of an intent and criteria.” -Rick Brinkman Click to Tweet 

“Whenever you present an idea, present it in this order – intent, criteria, here’s what I’m thinking.” -Rick Brinkman Click to Tweet 

“We’re all making a difference and affecting each other.” -Rick Brinkman Click to Tweet 

“Lead without leading, just tune into people.” -Rick Brinkman Click to Tweet 

“I already know what I know, I’d rather hear what other people have to say.” -Rick Brinkman Click to Tweet 

“Trust your intuition, it’s all right on.” -Rick Brinkman Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Rick Brinkman knew he had to get better at presenting. While presenting to a large group, he was unable to understand why everybody began to laugh hysterically. But he learned one thing that has helped him to move on to delivering hundreds of successful presentations since.

Advice for others

Your intuition is right. And trust your intuition.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

I take on too much.

Best Leadership Advice

Lead without leading. Tune into people and take charge in an easy-going manner.

Secret to Success

I listen more than I talk. If you start paying attention you’ll see people going into the caution zone.

Best tools that helps in Business or Life

Being an observer of people.

Recommended Reading

Dealing with Meetings You Can’t Stand: Meet Less and Do More

Dealing with People You Can’t Stand, Revised and Expanded Third Edition: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Contacting Rick Brinkman

website: http://www.dealingwithmeetings.com

website: https://www.drrickbrinkman.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rick-brinkman-ba9510b/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rick.brinkman.94

Resources and Show Mentions

Developing a Better Place to Work

Increase Employee Engagement and Workplace Culture

Empathy Mapping

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

 

Show Transcript: 

[expand title=”Click to access edited transcript”]

152: Rick Brinkman: I wasn’t trying to make a joke

 

Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we uncover the leadership like hat that help you to experience, break out performance faster and rocket to success. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach.

The number one thing that contributes to customer loyalty is emotions. So, move onward and upward faster by gaining significantly deeper insight and understanding of your customer journey and personas with emotional intelligence. With your empathy mapping workshop you’ll learn how to evoke and influence the right customer emotions that generate improve customer loyalty and reduce your cost to operate. Get over your emotional hump now by going to empathymapping.com to learn more.

 

Jim Rembach:   Okay, Fast Leader legion today I’m excited because I think we all can learn from this person who we have on the show today. Dr. Rick Brinkman’s parents met in a Polish ghetto at the beginning of World War II. His father was German and his mother was Polish. They married and were sent to Auschwitz and survived through the grace of multiple miracles including finding each other again after the war. Rick has always felt even as a child that he was on a mission to turn conflict into cooperation and he’s been doing his part by teaching communication performing 4,000 programs in 17 countries over the last 30 years and writing five books published by McGraw-Hill. In his first book with McGraw-Hill, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand—How to Bring Out the Best in People at their Worst, he describes how to transform universal difficult behaviors like whining, negativity, nitpicking, attacks, tantrums, snipping, know-it-alls, passive yes and maybe and nothing people, that book is in its third edition has been translated in 25 languages and is used in college courses.

 

Whenever he would do trainings on difficult people the subject of meetings would always come up as many of these difficult behaviors occur in the meeting context. Though the strategies in the first book would be valid in the meeting context a more effective plan is to put a meeting process in place that prevents them from ever occurring in the first place. His current release, dealing with Meetings You Can’t Stand Meet Less and Do More, provides that meeting process. In Rick’s experience everyone at a meeting has something of value to contribute and when you put it all together you get something greater. The integration of people’s different points of view on any subject creates what he calls holographic thinking. Holographic thinking produces higher quality ideas and solutions and it does so quickly so you can meet less and do more. Rick currently resides in Portland Oregon with his wife Lisa and two Siamese cats. Rick Bremen are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   Yeah, I’m ready let’s do that.

 

Jim Rembach:   Alright. Now, I’ve given our legion a little bit about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better.

 

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   Well, I love speaking in front of groups and teaching communication. I feel like every person I touch touches so many more it’s one big reaction after another. My mission is to give people the skills they need to prevent people from getting angry, stressed out, whining, miserable and that has a positive effect on everybody else.

 

Jim Rembach:   As you were saying that I started thinking about a part of the book that, I guess you can say—it’s kind of like that underlying thing or what happens before the communication in a verbal sense or even nonverbal starts to manifest itself. And you talk about different zones within the meeting process and you talk about one thing that I think people are just kind of oblivious to, and myself included, and that’s the caution zone. What is the caution zone? 

 

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   This is from the lens of understanding which is in both people you can’t stand and meetings you can’t stand. It’s a way of understanding human behavior in that we act in different ways depending on two factors, context, where are we what’s going on like at a meeting or we’re in a restaurant right now we’re doing this zoom interview or relationship, who are we with, We have four basic intents—we want to get things done, get things, right get along, and get appreciated. One of those becomes more important depending on where we are and what’s going on. So the caution zone is when people are not getting exactly what they need. If I need to get things done and let’s say we’re in a meeting context and l look at my watch we got to get this meeting done and people are going down tangents my behavior starts to get more controlling—alright, look people why don’t we do this, I just start taking over in order to get things done. On the other hand, if I wanted to get things right I’m usually going to slow things down because I have to make sure all the details get covered. If people are telling me at a meeting, oh, it’s about fifty, I’ll go about 50? And then I’m going to dive deeper into perfection into the details no one’s paying attention to. I f I want to get along with people and I’m not sure it’s happening I’m going to (4:43) things make sure everything’s okay between us. So in the meeting context I’m going to be very agreeable, you’re not really going to know where I stand I just going to—sure whatever you guys want. And if I want to get appreciate it’s not happening that caution zone is get attention—well, I’ve been doing this for 30 years and here’s what we did it my last company da-da-da-da-da and I start pontificating to get people’s attention. So, that’s that caution zone where people are just starting to act out it’s not full blown danger zone yet but it can quickly become that. 

 

Jim Rembach:   Okay, so as you were talking I started thinking about the fluidity of all of this. I see, even myself, and I see others kind of moving all around in this whole caution zone area. If I’m a person who is ultimately responsible for the results and I’m trying to get this group to be productive in its time together, how do I manage all of this?

 

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   You first want to recognize where people are in general in that zone. Are they being real agreeable or they seemingly have a need for attention? Are they always just staying on task, get it done or they diving into details to get it right? If you want to understand that about people—and then the people you work with they will seem to be in a certain zone more often than not that’s because we only know people in limited contexts and in relationship in general to ourselves. It’s an illusion. I was I was interviewing a CEO to do some seminars for a company she tells me she’s usually in that get it done control zone. If she gets a little too stressed out she admits she becomes a tank, that means—tank just runs over everybody– here’s what’s going on, boom. But then she says when she goes home she becomes a whiner to her husband about the problems at work. From her husband’s perception, how does she possibly run a company she’s such a whiner. He does not get to see her in her blazing tank glory. So, you got to know that people are moving around differently. The first thing to do is real he recognized yourself, where do you go? Are you really caring about the details or you just want to get it done? Are you needing our attention? Recognize the need yourself this one is the quickest way to then start recognizing well around you.

 

Jim Rembach:   Gosh, so I need to do a better job of having my radar up and mouth closed is that what you’re saying? Okay, really the book is about a plan and putting together a plan. How do we actually structure our plan so that we do get more done in less time?

 

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   You’re going to get more done in less time first of all begins in the preparation phase. I found that the problems in meeting all fall into either preparation people process in time not either really, all of them are simultaneously there. In the preparation phase one thing is questioning the meetings, this is really a good use of meeting time, meetings should be for interaction not information dissemination. Fun fact, Cambridge Psychological Society found that the average person’s 24 hours after a business meeting only remembers 9 percent and of the 9 percent they actually remember half is inaccurate in some way, so it’s kind of stupid to disseminate information. What you want to do is give it ahead of time people are instructed to read it you do not catch people up at the meeting and then you discuss the information, that’s a good use of meeting it’s got to be for interaction. The second thing we need is a good agenda. The agenda must be relevant to everybody who’s there if it’s not you’re going to have people multitasking and distracting.

 

Jim Rembach:   Even with that first point I started thinking about how I see most people come to a meeting you send them pre work you send them information beforehand to review—it’s like, hey bring your questions with you, they don’t do that and you put this and you’re crickets. Talking about that prep work, do you have to get some type of commitment with people or say, you know what? You didn’t look at it so you don’t have a seat or a say? How do you prevent that from happening?

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   Well, backing up a little, we have to have an agreement—hey, people how’d you like to try a process that will make our meeting shorter, more productive? It’s a rare human being who’ll say, no we don’t want that we love wasting time and being miserable, come on. So you have to come in first of all like—Okay people, let’s try and experiment that’ll make our meetings better that works to our advantages. Everybody hates meetings universally including the person, who you knew if they weren’t there would actually be a better meeting, even that person will tell you how bad it is. You got to come in with some sort of agreement then you briefed people on the process and then you run the process which is, we’re going to start on time we’re going to end on time we’re going to have relevant agenda every agenda items going to have a statement of purpose two lines or less telling you why is this so important I’m not doing ten million other things that I should be doing and also statement of focus, what do you want from me? 

For example, let’s say the office is being moved, so we have an agenda item office move. Statement of purpose is—to minimize the impact of the office move on you and your team’s workflow. Okay, that’s important, what do you want from me? We want you to come knowing your team’s workflow schedule. When you hear the presentation on how the office will be moved you can recognize when might be a better time of day or particular day to move. Now I’m oriented and that’s where focus starts at the meeting we have to be oriented to the right thing on the agenda. We’re going in, again keep in mind that we’re already briefed people in the process they know we’re going to do an experiment two times. Part of this experiment is, okay, you’re going to have to read the information and we’re going to start on time whether you’re there or not and we’re not going to re-brief you on the information. It’s not imposed because everybody hates meetings universally so it’s like—born free–finally somebody’s doing something about it instead of just letting it be chaotic.

Jim Rembach:   I’m thinking of a particular scenario where while I may have had some project manager responsibilities but it’s the executive sponsor who’s the one that’s the wild and unruly one, what do you do about that? 

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   What way are they wild and unruly? 

Jim Rembach:   They don’t look at anything beforehand they just don’t participate—I’m the executive, I don’t have to do that. 

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   Yeah, they would also have to be included in the process of how we’re going to do things and then play by the same rules. In the in the book there’s one great moments in meetings, people told me these stories, one of the things I recommend is by flight recording, you write down what people say and there’s various reasons for that, it gets the group the holographic thinking which we could talk about. Their case specifically, they had an IT director who didn’t have to be at the meeting but had the authority to come and would just make snarky distracting comments start an argument arguing on one side then five minutes later change and argue the other side. This person who had attended my program has remembered flight recording and he began the next meeting by saying, hi, we’re going to flight record and whatever anybody said he just simply innocently bulleted on the whiteboard and when the IT director made a snarky comment he bulleted it on the whiteboard and that ended those comments and the attendance of the director.

Jim Rembach:   That’s a great point. I guess you could say is a little bit of a passive-aggressive behavior however it definitely accomplished the ultimate end goal which is have a better meeting and get more done in less time. I can imagine talking about just this particular topic and you even said it yourself how people hate and you talked about a lot of words that were really rooted in emotion and a lot of this because people get frustrated. I know that there’s a lot of quotes that you’ve probably come across in your research and your studies in dealing with all of these different people but is there one or two that you can share? 

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   One of my favorites is and it relates to the agenda, it’s by Yogi Berra, if you don’t know where you’re going you end up someplace else. I think it’s very important to think of a meeting like a flight, an airplane flight, you got a bunch of people trapped in a contained space for an X amount of time they may feel it’s uncomfortable a waste of time the plane can leave late the meeting can start late then it can go off course or be hijacked it can arrive late then you miss your connections your other meetings. Imagine getting on a plane where the pilot says, well, will be leaving at some point and going somewhere we may get hijacked go of course that’s part of the course and eventually we will probably get to our destination we think. That’s crazy, right? It’s the same way in a meeting, so it’s got to be that structured the agendas your flight plan and questioning. The meeting’s existence is the part of the pre-flight checklist make sure we have all the right people there and why are we actually meeting. And then when you get into a meeting you really need three items, you need air traffic control and part of that is speaking order. There’s got to be an order to speak, otherwise the assertive people are going to dominate and the passive people drop out. Then there’s got to be a time limit for any moment to speak. 

Another part of air traffic control, you can have a whiteboard and whatever topic is on the floor at that moment gets written on the whiteboard, whatever process we’re using discussion, brainstorm, pro’s cons gets written in the process. So, now we’re all focused on the same thing at the same time in the same way, so that’s all air traffic control. Then we need flight recording, as I mentioned, where you take whatever people say and you bulleted on a PowerPoint slide or just something that’s visual to a whole group. When you make communication visual two things happen, one is it remains over time. If I have an important point at the meeting and I see it, you see it, ten minutes later it’s still there so that wipes out a lot of repetitions where people repeat themselves. If I have a concept that I feel is important to group mind and it’s not written I’ll say it a number of times as a way of keeping an awareness. Once I see it that’s great, that’s especially great for people who are in that get appreciation zone of the lens because they see that their message has landed and there it is on the on the whiteboard, flip chart or whatever, so that’s flight recording. And then we need a pilot who’s going to keep the time to make sure there’s a time limit every time anybody speaks and that we stay on track with our agenda.

 

Jim Rembach:   That’s very helpful. I think everybody can resonate and understand that so I don’t think you’d have anybody missing or getting dropped out because they didn’t understand what you just walk through, that’s perfect. Now, one of the things that I started thinking about too as you were talking is that there’s a difference between having a meeting by which you’re doing some ideation you’re having divergent type of thinking activities going on it’s a little bit more of that, hey bring some creativity to this process, you’re describing to me is what I still think of something that is not that divergent but convergent thinking process and say, we’re going to flow and we’re going to accomplish these things and work within our time frame within our box, is there a time where you’ll do something different if you’re trying to get divergent thinking happen?

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   Well with that we probably want to be in a brainstorm mode in that point and for that point we’re like, alright, first we’ll know we have x amount of time to do it. We would also, if were brainstorming for ideas, we would probably want to first consider what are the relevant criteria. Here are some factors, some factors are flexible some are not like federal law says, blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah, so we can’t violate that. Our budget is blah, blah, blah so maybe that’s a little bit more fixed. And then we have—but we’re looking for something that the customer is going to really appreciate and notice something that we can implement across all our departments, all these things that I’m naming are criteria. So, they give us kind of some parameters in which to be more creative because if we don’t have those few parameters we’ll be creative in ways but federal law says, alright here’s a great idea but the budget won’t handle it. To give people parameters in the first place and then set them loose that really unleashes great creativity. 

Jim Rembach:   Is there a risk by trying to have a divergent thinking activity process but then putting some convergent things on it like budget constraint it does potentially squash somebody’s ability to think differently?

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   It could to a degree. If you want you could have the option of not giving any criteria let everybody go yee-ha and then what’ll come up is—well, this is a great idea except for the budgetary thing so now we might but we really like it so now we’re at another step of kind of creative thinking what’s a way we could accomplish what we like about this idea but is not costing as much or violating the regulations—so you’d want to still pull out the essence of the idea. In fact, one thing I recommend to groups is that they make sure that whenever they have an idea and they share something they realize that every idea is the end result of, first of all, an intent and overall purpose that they run through relevant criteria that they know at least unconsciously and then out pops idea. 

I once had a couple do counseling, at the end of the visit she suddenly turns to him goes, honey let’s go to the rose gardens. And he goes, nah, she goes okay, I say wait a second what’s your intent? Why did you bring this up? She says, well we’re feeling closer than we have in a long time and we have an hour to pick up the kids I thought it’d be nice to spend some quiet time together. He says, oh that’s a great idea I will be outside too hot to buggy how about the cafe we’ve been meaning to try? Now she doesn’t really care about rose gardens itself she cares about time together that’s the intent rose gardens just the way to do it. Maybe she’s thinking time it’s on the way home it won’t cost anything budgets it’s a nice quiet place. That’s really why people reject or like ideas it’s for the intent and criteria. What I urge people to do is whenever they present an idea present it in this order intent, criteria, here’s what I’m thinking. Idea—that makes it clear to everybody else because we may not be able to do the idea that they’re suggesting but when we get their intent and their criteria that’s the goal, that’s the real gold in the room.

Jim Rembach:   I think that’s a beautiful framework, I’m sorry I’m going to have to steal that from you. 

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   You got it. 

Jim Rembach:   Okay, you’re talking about your bio, talking about these different books and talking about all the people you’ve met but I’m sure you yourself have had some humps that you’ve needed to get over and they’ve really made a difference for you so that you were able to get more done faster. But is there a time that you can share with us when you’ve had to get over the hump? 

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   I would say the first one that occurs to me as far as a hump is—being comfortable speaking in front of groups. I clearly at one point had an intuition that I had to get through that and that was in college. I started volunteering for talks or courses that required talks. I’ll never forget this moment and back then it’s early 70’s, I’m wearing overalls most of the time, and I could put my hands in the overalls there’s a comfortable place and I’m doing this talk for a big auditorium it was an anthropology course. Each of us had to read this short book, almost like a cliff notes about this particular culture, and this was some obscure truck tribe in South America I’d never heard of before. They really had nothing. They had no religion, they had no culture they didn’t make any arts and crafts. I went down the list that you’re supposed to go down I was just saying a deadpan, they have no art no culture nothing and the only tradition I could find is when your sister first goes out with a boy your brother has to beat up the boy and the room broke out hysterical and laughing. I wasn’t trying to make a joke that was true that was really true. I couldn’t believe the relief I got I’m just doing that. And that’s when I realized comedy I got to start integrating some humor into this which is good for me and good for everybody else. 

Jim Rembach:   That’s a good lesson. When you start thinking about all the things that you have going on all these different talks all these different coaching and consulting projects—this book, when you think about one of your goals, what is one of them? 

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   I really want to make a difference in the world. I remember—my mother was on death march as the Russian Front was advancing fast Auschwitz is now liquidated and taking people to west towards British American forces you dig a ditch in the road to slow the Russian tanks down if  you’re too weak they shoot you no time to waste. One night when they stopped to camp she broke down and start to cry the German soldiers are ** she said, I can’t take it anymore I’m starving I’m freezing kill me I want this to be over. He tears his sandwich he hands her half and says, listen the war is almost over you will live we will die now watch yourself or you go stand guard in front of this fire. The next day she woke up with a little bit of hope and noticed that whenever you march to a German town in the road bend a crescent there’ll be a clean blind spot the guards can see you. 

That night when they stopped to camp she realized they are many minutes at a time there was not a guard to be seen, there were 70 guards to a thousand girls, she got up and walked away. She went into this deserted German town into a deserted house there’s a Christmas tree, it’s January 1945, apples hanging on it, she eats an apple and before she could feel good she’s gotten away she realized she had just left her sister back there at Franville and think she’s dead. And she thinks, I could not live the rest of my life knowing maybe I could have done something I can do this once I can do this twice. She sneaks back let herself be captured finds her sister her friends tells them about the two opportunities. The next day they escape. And so the decision of that German soldier has gotten 69 years into the future to this moment in this interview. So, we’re all making a difference in affecting each other and I feel like I’m on a mission to turn conflict into cooperation. When human beings get together and really hear each other in meetings they can come up with ideas and synthesis that really is a greater good and takes all factors into account. 

Jim Rembach:   And the Fast Leader legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor. 

An even better place to work is an easy-to-use solution that improves the empathy and emotional intelligence skills in everyone. It provides a continuous diagnostic on employee engagement and provides integrated activities that will improve the leadership and collaboration skills in everyone. This award winning solution is guaranteed to create motivated, productive and higher performing employees that have great working relationships with their colleagues and your customers. To learn more about an even better place to work visit beyondmorale.com/better.

Alright here we go Fast Leader legion it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Rick, the Hump Day Hoedown is a part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So, I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us a robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Dr. Rick Brinkman, are you ready to hold down? 

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   Let’s hoedown. 

Jim Rembach:   What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today?

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   I probably take on too much. There’s so many things I’m interested in and love to do—whether it’s web design in my own site or video production, I love it all.

Jim Rembach:   What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   Lead without leading. Just really tune into people tune in to their strengths and be willing to just speak up.  You don’t have to order people you just have to step up and take charge in an easygoing manner. 

Jim Rembach:   What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   I listen more than I talk. Listening to people paying attention to those around us. Even going back to your caution zone if you start paying attention you’ll start seeing where people are going in the caution zone. It was always right there before your eyes but you were too busy thinking about what you say you’re trying to say it but you step back and you just observe for a while you start to see how all the pieces are moving around you and then it’s easy to intervene.

Jim Rembach:   What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   Observing. Being an observer of people. Maybe because I was an only child so I was very entertained within my own mind but I definitely pay attention to what’s going on around and genuinely listen to people. And try to not just understand them but—they’re not always clear about what they want to say but I’m paying attention in a level where I’m going to help them get to what they want to say. I’m curious about where they really want to go. I already know what I know, why do I want to hear it again? I’d rather hear what other people have to say.

Jim Rembach:   What would be one book that you’d recommend to our listeners and it could be from any genre, of course we’ll put a link to Dealing with Meetings You Can’t Stand, on your show notes page as well.

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   That is the first one I thought of and then the meetings book. I listened to an audio book called Sapiens, it’s the story of the human race of mankind and wow that was what a fascinating read.  Our unique ability was to create conceptual things. Whether it’s conceptual things like religions or nationalism or capitalism or all these agreements that are really just agreements of our imagination together, what a ride that was from prehistoric days all the way to now I’m seeing everything in a different way—Sapiens. 

Jim Rembach:   Okay, Fast Leader legion you could find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to fastleader.net/ Rick Brinkman. Okay, Rick, this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25. And you’ve been given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take everything back you can only choose one. So, what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   Wow! Well I think I would acknowledge that your intuition is right and trust your intuition because I’ve always done that. I got involved in my profession basically overnight. I wanted to be a physician and I found out about a holistic physician from a guy in a park when I was on a three-month open-ended trip after college and discover naturopathic medicine holistic medicine and boom I was enrolled the next day. When I met my wife I knew as soon as I met her and five months later we were married now it’s been 37 years. So, I would just tell myself that to do what you’re doing trust your intuition it’s all right on.

Jim Rembach:   Rick it was an honor to spend time with you today can you please share with the Fast Leader legion how they can connect with you?

Dr. Rick Brinkman:   They can certainly find me at dealingwithmeetings.com that’s a unique site within my site of Dr. Rick Brinkman and there’s all kinds of resources there agenda, template, template on how you convince people of doing experiment with your meetings at spot. Probably the most direct way, drrickbrinkman.com or just remember dealingwithmeetings.com and there’s links to the rest of me. 

Jim Rembach:   Rick Brinkman, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the Fast Leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot! Woot!

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.

 

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