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6 Tips We Can Learn From Steve Jobs On How To Hold Meetings

6 Tips We Can Learn From Steve Jobs On How To Hold Meetings

If you know anything about Steve Jobs, you know he was everything but a conventional man. He was known for very inspiring and orchestrated meetings and his goal in those meetings was to bring everyone together to work in harmony. Now, if you are anything like me, you hate the mere thought of having or attending a meeting just for the sake of having or attending one.

I think the first step towards learning how to have meetings like Steve Jobs is to call them what he called them which was “brainstorming sessions” because he was not in his meetings just to listen to himself, he was there to listen to his team of engineers, marketers, designers, etc. So, when he held a “brainstorming session”.

What can we learn from him and have an “apple moment” in our own business? Here are six great tips to learn from him.

1. Be Clear on the Purpose of the Meeting

As soon as your staff walks into the meeting, the purpose should be clear. What problem are you there to solve? It is important to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve so that your team immediately recognises why they are there. Steve Jobs was very clear as to what he wanted and why his team was there. He was enthusiastic, passionate and he believed wholeheartedly in why he was there. He was not afraid to “go all out for what he wanted”. Leading off with passion and purpose, he immediately engaged his team.

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2. Recognise Creative Value

It is not just about the money, it is about what you have to offer that is so special and why people need it so badly. When your staff understands that this is something that people have to have and that they are a great part of it, they will make it happen. Steve Jobs was a genius because he knew he could not do it alone, he needed his team but not only he needed to know their worth but they needed to know their own worth, too.

Many times our lack of accomplishment is due to not recognising what we have before us.

It was once said that, “What you do not recognise you do not celebrate and what you do not celebrate will eventually walk out of your life”.

How sad is it to lose a valuable team member just because you failed to recognise their value especially if they are a key to getting your product or service out there.

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3. Probe & Challenge

Steve Jobs was not afraid to probe his team and listen to their feelings however, he would push them to understand why they felt the way they did. It is not enough for your team member to say, “I do not think that is a good idea”, ask them why they don’t think that it is a good idea. There is always a reason or should be one for both the agreement and disagreement.

The probing was one thing but the challenging is yet another. Steve Jobs would sometimes, in fact, many times disagree with one of his team members but he would challenge them to listen to why. In this way, he would challenge them to think differently and even learn to challenge themselves on a better or different way to achieve something. Therefore, because of the probing and the challenging, they would stick with him because they would find themselves doing their best work and they were allowed to do so. This is where you can find great talent on your team, bring them to probe and challenge themselves.

4.Game Plan

Every one of your team members must walk out of that meeting knowing exactly what they are to do. The key here is not exactly the “how to do it” but for the “what to do”. The “how” is where Steve would push his team members to do their best. Your team cannot always rely on you to tell them how to do something but for sure they should know what the end result is expected to be.

One of the most interesting statements that Steve Jobs made was that, “he played the orchestra”. He knew how to bring them together in harmony to make a vision happen. Why do we as leaders want to be responsible for the “how”? This is where many of us miss out on the great things that we could be creating because we are trying to control it all. Conduct the orchestra of great talent and lead the game plan.

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5. Focus on the War and not the Battle

Wow! I love this statement because too many times as leaders we are worried about the small battles going on around us instead of focusing on the greater war in front of us. Not only our team but ourselves, we must hold ourselves accountable for what is going on. Steve once said that as a team they were concentrating so much on the smaller battles around them that they had forgotten to keep the war in perspective.

What was that war exactly? It is SURVIVAL! As he wanted his team to not just win small battles, he wanted them to win the war, so should we and he did that by starting with the blame on his own shoulders. Start with yourself when you address your team, after all, you are the leader. Steve said, “if you want to change other’s behaviour, start at the top.”

6. Never Let Past Mistakes Own You

A mistake could be a win or it could be a stepping stone to a win. In one of Steve’s meetings, he actually told his team that he did not want to keep hearing about what had not worked before and what problems they had had, he wanted to hear about the “new window of opportunity laying before them”. He recognised failure from before and what all had not happened but often as entrepreneurs, we face failure and many of us have experienced it more than once.

We must believe that success is out there otherwise we would not keep trying. So, the next time you are in a meeting and your team members want to bring up the past, make it clear, yes we made a mistake but this is not the purpose of this meeting. We are moving forward and we are not going to let those past mistakes own us now.

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If you have drive, focus, passion, brashness and patience just to mention a few, you are more like Steve Jobs than you think. These are the traits that brought him to discovering one of the greatest inventions on earth. The next time you plan a meeting with your team, take a good look at the above tips and challenge yourself to a “Steve Jobs” meeting and watch and see what great and successful things will come from it. Remember this, “Greatness and True Quality Never go on sale”.

Featured photo credit: Having Meetings Like Steve Jobs via imcreator.com

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

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Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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