All together now – for a purpose! 

One of my pet peeves left over from my corporate America experience is the overuse of meetings to simply share information.  Imagine the cost and waste of time with 200 professionals seated in an offsite auditorium so they could hear the CEO give an update.  I know two things from those meetings 1) no one is empowered when the top gun does all the talking and 2) CEOs who like to hear themselves talk are often replaced. Even 20 years ago we knew a video would have been a better use of time.   (Let’s see: 200 people, average hourly cost $150 hour – and many of them had billing rates in the $400 range – for two hours minimum.  Cost $60,000.) 

At this most busy time for everyone in the landscaping industry we all want to engage in our highest and best use of time.  There is no time to waste at any level.  We especially don’t have time to waste waiting for others to arrive to start a meeting or having idle chitchat with people who are just killing time.  (Isn’t that a sad expression?)  

Now, I will say there is tremendous value to be captured with the right kind of in-person meetings, especially if the reason that the group is gathered is to accomplish something that they can only do when they are together (or they can best do when they are together.)  For example, strategic planning is best done in person.  With the right group of participants and the right facilitator, incredible insight can be gained, connections can be made and buy-in to the results can be achieved.   Ongoing benefits include accountability, energy, and subsequent action plans.  I was recently honored to be a participant in an ILCA planning meeting that was facilitated by John Blumberg, an incredibly talented speaker and facilitator. (Read about John on his LinkedIn profile here: ) 

Some benefits of a facilitated purpose-driven meeting: 

  • All attendees can truly participate to accomplish the purpose of the meeting. 
  • The facilitator will draw out responses from every participant, not just those who may be dominant or more apt to contribute.  Some of the best insight comes from the quiet observers, when they are asked for their input. 
  • An open forum is available for true creativity.  No “black hats” allowed, so all ideas are welcome.  
  • Facilitators help the group focus on the top two to three worthy and achievable goals (without losing the thread of the other great ideas.) 
  • The group “owns” the outcomes and is energized at the prospect of continuing the work. 

Do use meetings to:

  • Celebrate people and accomplishments in a team-building initiative. 
  • Work collaboratively on issues that span departments. 
  • Brainstorm to create more efficient processes and workflow. 
  • Get to know each other in meaningful ways when new team members join an existing team.
  • To support integration of a new company with an existing company.  Ask me about integrating a 300-person company with a competitor of about that many people, and the power of involving both groups in defining best practices. 

It’s common sense, but also worth remembering a few of these key concepts about team dynamics and the cost of wasted time.  If you would like to discuss when to use the power of a team and a skilled facilitator, or how you might consider integrating your new acquisition’s people into your existing infrastructure, please give me a call.  Similarly, if you want to know how to sell your company, how to buy a company or how to start your exit planning process, please feel free to reach me via email: [email protected] or on my cell phone a: 224-688-8838. 

We’re here to help you Harvest Your Potential!

Alison Hoffman

has more than 25 years of experience in strategy, operations, mergers and acquisitions and delivering business-to-business client solutions. Her areas of expertise include managing operations for profitable growth, organizational design and strategy activation. She brings a wealth of experience through her work in evaluating, valuing and purchasing over 30 companies, leading company-wide cultural and business integration projects and consolidating best practices among business processes and corresponding computing systems. Read Full Bio