Link: From Pink Milk to Smart Questions, How to Be a Rebel Leader

“We underestimate how flattering it is to be asked for advice. By asking questions, we give others the opportunity to share their personal experience and wisdom, thus stroking their ego. Curiosity is a way of being rebellious in the world. Rebels fight their fears and are willing to push past the discomfort of showing others that they need their help. It may feel scary, but it brings about all sorts of benefits. Curiosity is related to both greater positive emotions and greater closeness when we interact with strangers for the first time. In one study my colleagues and I conducted.”
Original source: From Pink Milk to Smart Questions, How to Be a Rebel Leader

Link: From Pink Milk to Smart Questions, How to Be a Rebel Leader

“We underestimate how flattering it is to be asked for advice. By asking questions, we give others the opportunity to share their personal experience and wisdom, thus stroking their ego. Curiosity is a way of being rebellious in the world. Rebels fight their fears and are willing to push past the discomfort of showing others that they need their help. It may feel scary, but it brings about all sorts of benefits. Curiosity is related to both greater positive emotions and greater closeness when we interact with strangers for the first time. In one study my colleagues and I conducted.”
Original source: From Pink Milk to Smart Questions, How to Be a Rebel Leader

Link: Why Do Meeting Cancellations Say “I’m Giving You Back 30 Minutes … You’re Welcome”?

‘If the meeting was for your benefit the organizer would not word the cancellation that way. That’s why you don’t hear “I don’t think we need to interview you so we’re giving you back 30 minutes. You’re welcome.” or “we’re canceling your parole hearing so you can go back to your cell and enjoy an extra 15 minutes. You’re welcome”.’
Original source: Why Do Meeting Cancellations Say “I’m Giving You Back 30 Minutes … You’re Welcome”?

Link: Reaching Peak Meeting Efficiency

‘Whiteboards are a tool used by a certain type of person to “take over” a meeting. Simply going to the board and picking up a pen changes the whole dynamic of meeting ownership, agenda, control and creates a power-dynamic that is pretty hostile to collaboration. The worst part of whiteboards is that some people just don’t have the ego or personality to go to a whiteboard so they will never contribute that way. The real problem is that whatever gets written on a whiteboard can have more weight than what is said by others or than it deserves simply because it was “written”. I’ve seen whole product positioning statements upended because someone stood up at a whiteboard and rearranged the 3×3 and bullied everyone by controlling the board.’

A whole about corporate meetings in the rest of the article.
Original source: Reaching Peak Meeting Efficiency

Link: Jeff Bezos admits Amazon has ‘the weirdest meeting culture you will ever encounter’, Business Insider

In the letter, he explained that writing a brilliant, long memo requires the writer to understand the subject well. It also requires the writer to “improve results through the simple act of teaching scope.” By that he means doing a great job requires effort, not speed. “A great memo probably should take a week or more” to write, he said in the letter.

“We read [the memos] in the room. Just like high school kids, executives will bluff their way through the meeting as if they’ve read the memo. So you have to carve out time so everyone has actually read the memo – they are not just pretending,” he said.
Original source: Jeff Bezos admits Amazon has ‘the weirdest meeting culture you will ever encounter’, Business Insider

A real corporate meeting, avoiding triggering The Boss

This anecdote from a story on Sears struggles is spot on strategic thinking for most corporate meeting:

There, two mid-level employees were preparing a presentation for the CEO, Eddie Lampert, when their boss rushed in with some last-minute advice.

On a chart pad he wrote three words.

“He looks at the presenters and says, ‘Do not say these words to that guy,'” according to a former Sears executive who described the meeting to Business Insider. “That guy” meant Lampert, who would soon appear on a giant projector screen at the front of the room, beamed in live from a home office inside a $38 million Florida estate – 1,400 miles away from headquarters.

The pad with the three words was out of sight of Lampert’s video feed. One of the words on it was “consumer.”

The stakes were high. If any of those words were uttered in front of Lampert, the two presenters would “get shredded” by the CEO, whose frequent tirades had fostered a climate of fear among the company’s most senior managers, said another person – this one a former vice president.

These two and other executives say “consumer” can trigger Lampert. He wants employees to instead refer to shoppers as “members,” which is his term for customers who are enrolled in Sears’ Shop Your Way rewards program.

It was at that moment, as the executive attending the meeting watched fellow employees anxiously censor themselves in front of Lampert, that he realized he needed to flee the sinking 123-year-old company.

That perfectly captures how much energy you need to spend on seemingly ridiculous details to be successful in corporate environments, not only in caustic ones, but pretty functional ones as well. I love chronically this type of tacit corporate knowledge.

The rest of the article is great background on how older companies are struggling to modernize with plenty of anonymized sources telling gritty, but helpful stories.

Think big, but have small, short, and focused meetings

Have 15 minutes be the default. Sure, sounds interesting.

See also Rumsfeld’s meeting rules which opens with a more management take on what meetings are for:

If you think about it, a meeting’s function is to pool an organization’s collective wisdom and knowledge in one room, making it easier for a manager to learn what his team knows that he doesn’t, and to provide guidance to all of those involved in one place at one time.

Think big, but have small, short, and focused meetings