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5 Secrets to Successful, Productive Meetings

5 Secrets to Successful, Productive Meetings

As a young professional, chances are that you will spend a fair amount of time in meetings. 21st century employees have developed a love-hate relationship with meetings. On the one hand, meetings are a great opportunity to pull a team together to solve problems and generate ideas in an interactive manner. On the other hand, many meetings tend to veer off topic quickly and fail to accomplish their intended goals. The good news is that meetings do not have to be bland and unproductive. Implementing the following 5 strategies during your next meeting will help you get the most out of your meetings and minimize time-wasting.

1. Distribute the Agenda In Advance

Every meeting should have a stated purpose. Each meeting attendee should know exactly what the meeting will be about well in advance of the meeting. Usually, 24 hours ahead is a good time to distribute agendas.This will allow everyone time research and prepare necessary input. That way, everyone shows up to the meeting ready to have a meaningful dialogue.

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2. Restrict the Number of Attendees

Some meetings do not require the entire team to attend. While it may be easy to send the meeting invitation to everyone on the email distribution list, being a little more selective with whom you invite can pay off in a big way. People tend to be more open and candid in small group settings than they are in large groups. Only invite the team members who are necessary to accomplish the goal of the meeting. Everyone else can be filled in later.

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3.  Sideline off-topic conversations

As stated earlier, each meeting has to have a specific purpose. All discussions that take place during a meeting should be in alignment with the meeting’s purpose. You certainly want to welcome new ideas and perspectives, but not at the expense of the task at hand. If someone brings up a point that is sure to derail the meeting onto a time-consuming tangent, quickly suggest that the group table that topic for a more appropriate time. By sidelining potential tangents, you keep everyone focused on current mission.

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4. Stay Within Your Time Constraints

It is extremely important to develop a reputation for starting and ending your meetings on time. If invitees know that they can trust you to respect their time, they will be more likely to show up on time and participate fully. Make sure you budget enough time to fully discuss each item on the agenda. A single meeting should generally be held to 60 minutes or less. So if you think your meeting will last longer than that, consider breaking the agenda into two parts so that you are not monopolizing too much of the participant’s time at once.

5. Give Out Homework

One of the problems with so many meetings is that nobody takes action on the topics discussed in the meeting. This leads to more dreaded “meetings about meetings” so that the team can be reminded what action items came out of a previous discussion. In order to avoid this situation, before ending every meeting, be sure to identify specific individuals to be responsible for any action items that come out of the meeting. Send out a followup email confirming each person’s commitment to each action, and go ahead and set up a time for a status meeting to make sure everyone is staying on track. Giving out homework at the end of each meeting is essential to making sure the time was well spent. After all, the goal of meetings is not simply to talk about plans and strategies. Meetings should be about implementing those plans and strategies. The homework is the implementation.

Featured photo credit: Benjamin Child via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on March 12, 2019

20 Inspiring Vision Statement Examples (2019 Updated)

20 Inspiring Vision Statement Examples (2019 Updated)

There is normally a lengthy list of things you need to consider when starting a business, and if you don’t manage them properly, your excitement can quickly turn into overwhelm. What can support you to stay inspired and on the right track when starting out? You guessed it: this is your vision statement.

What Is a Vision Statement?

A vision statement is like a photograph of your future business, which gives your business shape and direction.

A vision statement provides the direction and describes what the founder wants the organization to achieve in the future; it’s more about the “what” of a business. It is different from a mission statement, which describes the purpose of an organization and more about the “how” of a business.

If you were to take a photo of your future business now, what would it look like? What do you want your business to be recognized for one day?

You need to have a crystal clear vision when you start out, otherwise you can get easily lost in deciding the best way forward. When you are making strategic decisions for your business and even daily operation decisions, your vision statement will give you the inspiration and targeted direction you need.

The Importance of a Vision Statement

Without a vision statement, your business will lack motivation to keep going.

If you don’t aim for anything, you might not hit anything. The more specific and clear you are, the better your chances are at seeing your vision turn into reality.

The importance of a vision statement cannot be overlooked; not only does it provide long term direction and guidance, but it also gives you the inspiration and the necessary energy to keep going when you feel lost.

Always keep your vision statement alive by revisiting it regularly and communicating your vision with other members of the team, to inspire and motivate them as well.

How to Craft an Inspiring Vision Statement

1. Dream big and use clear language

An inspiring vision statement should inform a clear direction and priorities for the organization, while challenging all the team members to grow together. Based on our expert sources’ advice, we’ve got some great tips for you:

  • Imagine how you want the business to be like in five to ten years.
  • Infuse the business’ values in the statement.
  • Make sure that the statement is implying a clear focus for the business.
  • Write your vision statement in the present tense.
  • Use clear and concise language.
  • Ensure the statement is easily understood.

There are many different types of vision statements and there is no wrong or right way to do it. The most important thing is to resonate with it. It will always inspire you and give you a clear targeted direction.

2. Get inspirations from the successful companies.

Having researched on a number of successful companies’ vision statements, I’ve shortlisted 20 good examples for the new startups:

Short vision statements made up of a few words only:

1. Disney

To make people happy.

2. Oxfam

A just world without poverty.

3. Ikea

To create a better every day life for the many people.

Quantitative statements are based on numbers, quantities:

4. Microsoft

Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

    5. Nike

    Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. (*If you have a body, you are an athlete.)

      Qualitative statements are based on qualities that you want to have:

      6. Ford

      People working together as a lean, global enterprise to make people’s lives better through automotive and mobility leadership.

      7. Avon

      To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service and self-fulfillment needs of women—globally.

      Competitor based statements – this type is becoming less common, but famous examples are:

      8. Honda – in 1970

      We will destroy Yamaha.

      9. Nike – in 1960s

      Crush Adidas.

        10. Philip Morris – in 1950s

        Knock off RJR as the number one tobacco  company in the world.

        Role Model Vision Statements – using another company as an example:

        11. Stanford University – in the past

        To become the Harvard of the West.

        12. Reach for Success – in the past

        To become the next Tony Robbins in self development.

        Internal Transformations vision statements:

        13. Apple

        To produce high-quality, low cost, easy to use products that incorporate high technology for the individual.

        14. Giro Sport Design

        To make sure that riding is the best part of a great life.

        15. Tesla

        To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

        16. Sony

        To be a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity.

        17. Facebook

        To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.

          Longer and more detailed vision statement:

          18. Walmart

          To give customers a wide assortment of their favorite products, Every Day Low Prices, guaranteed satisfaction, friendly service, convenient hours (24 hours, 7 days a week) and a great online shopping experience.

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          19. Coca Cola

          To achieve sustainable growth, we have established a vision with clear goals:

          Profit: Maximizing return to share owners while being mindful of our overall responsibilities.

          People: Being a great place to work where people are inspired to be the best they can be.

          Portfolio: Bringing to the world a portfolio of beverage brands that anticipate and satisfy peoples; desires and needs.

          Partners: Nurturing a winning network of partners and building mutual loyalty.

          Planet: Being a responsible global citizen that makes a difference.

            20. Heinz

            Our VISION, quite simply, is to be: “The World’s Premier Food Company, Offering Nutritious, Superior Tasting Foods To People Everywhere.” Being the premier food company does not mean being the biggest but it does mean being the best in terms of consumer value, customer service, employee talent, and consistent and predictable growth.

            The Bottom Line

            Remember, always keep your vision statement up-to-date to direct your company’s actions.

            Remember, once you reach your vision, it needs to be changed. General Motors overtook Ford as #1 automotive company in the world because once Ford’s goal was reached, they never updated it.

            Keep your vision statement alive and visibly in front of you, revisit it and let it help direct your actions and activities. This is the fun part: this is where you get to dream really big and allow your imagination to fly as high as you want.

            Don’t hold back, let your creative juices flow and give yourself permission to explore what is possible for your business.

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            To your success!

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