Ask almost anyone in almost any organisation what they think of meetings and they’ll pretty much all say the same thing – “We hate meetings”.
Whilst there is a lot of feeling that meetings are bad, there is often very little or no solid data to back it up in the organisation.
Mayalytics is our brand new service to help any organisation measure and visualise their meeting culture and provides high quality quantitative and qualitative metrics to drive improvements.
Built to Visualise Meeting Culture
As we built Amazemeet we found we had lots of users but not many customers.
We also found that one of the key reasons for this was that decision makers in our users’ organisations needed data to see if they had a problem with meetings in their company.
Mayalytics was born with the belief that we could help leaders and decision makers improve their organisation by giving them useful metrics about their meeting culture.
8 Key Metrics Right out of the Box – for free
Using the data we get from your meeting invitation and feedback from specially devised micro surveys, we add a dash of Artificial Intelligence to make sense of the data and provide 8 key metrics about an organisation’s meeting culture:
Meetings per Month: the number of meetings per month across your organisation
Total Meeting Time per month (in hours): how much time meetings are taking.
Employees Meeting Time per month (in hours): how much employees’ time is spent in meetings.
Employees Meeting Wasted Time per month (in hours): how much employees’ time is wasted in meetings.
Meeting Costs per month (in US Dollars): how much meetings are costing the organisation per month
Meeting Wasted Cost per Month (in US Dollars): how much of the cost of meetings is wasted.
Employee Sentiment before meetings (in %)
Employee Sentiment after meetings (in %)
Incredibly Easy to Use
One of the best things about Mayalytics is how easy it is to use.
To get your Meeting Culture data flowing, all you do is what you’ve always done for meetings that you organise- simply invite an additional email address and we take care of everything else.
Getting started is super simple and quick.
Our “Getting Started” video explains everything you need to know to get it started.
Start using it right now and building up the data you need to get these useful metrics.
I bet you’ve watched some TED talks, haven’t you? You closed the door, hoping the kids or the partner wouldn’t hear you, or maybe you were slacking off at work, looking for some inspiration. I’ve been there.
TED.com is not only a wonderful source of ideas and inspiration, it is also an amazing collection of hacks and potential strategies for the businesses of the future — or in your case, your business in the present.
Why wait for change when we can kick-start it right now?
As a leader, you are probably always looking for great ideas to incorporate in your business. These days not only small businesses have to innovate to grow, but big companies as well, if they want to stay on top. So consider the ideas I’ve outlined for you below. Don’t be a dead fish like some of your colleagues who keep saying they’ll “make changes” but never do.
Of course, I’m referring to the famous quote by Malcolm Muggeridge:
Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream.
Are you ready to enter the 21st century? Here we go…
How to Make Employees Happy
That’s the easy part, even though you don’t know it yet. Maybe you think that happiness depends on many things, but science says a different story. Basically, whatever happens to you affects only 25% of your mood and the rest is in the way your brain processes the world.
There are several exercises that — if done for 21 days — will drastically change the happiness level of your employees (and your own if you choose to partake), which will then increase their engagement and productivity.
My favorite exercise is “three good things” (or 3 gratitudes) — every day you write down or tell somebody three good things that happened to you that day. Eventually your brain starts to notice the good more than the bad, and when you habitually start fixating on good things, your happiness level shoots up. If you incorporate one or more of these exercises during a team-building seminar or the daily scrum meeting, your team will thank you for it.
There is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does.
This sentence is the most memorable part of Dan Pink’s talk about motivation. First of all there are two types of motivation— external and internal. You can probably guess which one is more important even though the other is woefully overrated at work. All those bonuses, awards, etc., they are all incentives for a job well done, but not only that. The system of giving rewards to “the best” means “we’ll give it to you if you get there”.
Science shows that whenever a task involves actual cognitive effort, incentives don’t work. Instead of motivating people, they actually lower their chances of completing the task successfully. If the task is manual and easy, this problem doesn’t exist, but Pink posits that nowadays there is no such thing as a “simple task”. Everything depends on creativity and our creativity saps when we have to compete for rewards. Instead of incentives, Pink suggests 3 crucial internal motivators:
Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. And how can you apply these? Pink offers examples of autonomy at work in Atlassian, where there are designated days for “doing whatever you want”, i.e. personal projects outside of work, and the results are always — boosted productivity and amazing new products coming out. (It’s called Fedex Days. Google it.)
So try and give your employees some autonomy. They do it at Google, too. As for Mastery and Purpose, you can fill in the blanks.
How to Inspire People to take Action
Simon Sinek’s famous “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” talk is brilliant, and it has been praised time and again for its ingenuity. He gives a simple model, explains how you can apply the “golden circle”, and at the end of it you feel as though you can convince anyone to do anything.
All you need to do is start from Why. Look at the circle on the left. It has three rings in it — why is the innermost, then there’s how, and finally — what. The outermost circle is the surface — your product, what your company is selling/offering to the world. Is it cars? Stocks? Whatever it is, it’s your what and the how, naturally, is how it works and what it offers.
So you usually explain, “we make this and it does this and it’s amazing!” That’s pretty much the gist of your marketing. You skip the why, but it’s the most important element. The why is your purpose, it’s WHY you’re selling cars and why you’re working at the company.
If you don’t believe in your product, who will?!
A great leader would start from the why and end with the what. They’ll say “We believe in diversity, innovation. If you’re the sort of person who likes to try new things, this model is revolutionary. It does [this and that]. Now people want the product and people want to buy it from you because:
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
Next time you’re selling an idea to someone — be it a job candidate, a potential partner, or a client, start with the why and hook them.
How to Keep Everyone’s Accounts Safe
Now for a more practical idea, Lorrie Faith Cranor has studied thousands of passwords, and the pointers she gives can make you and your team feel a bit safer in the recent threats on cyber security.
First of all, you probably know that you’re not supposed to write your passwords down or re-use them (oops), so I’ll skip to the juicy stuff.
There are several ways to come up with memorable AND safe passwords. For example, she discovered that you don’t have to include all kinds of confusing symbols in your password. Instead you can make it: longer (a phrase or sentence) or a combination of random words (something like cat window tree fall). Even a shorter pseudo-word works (as long as it’s pronounceable).
Also, she advises to let a computer generate it for you because you apparently suck at it. And whatever you do, DO NOT use: iloveyou, monkey, and names of pets. Apparently, everybody thinks monkeys are cute.
Take a closer look at the image above. It contains the most commonly used words and combinations in passwords, which you’re not supposed to use yourself because the hackers will immediately sniff you down. And set some guidelines for your employees, too. All this time they’ve been walking around with (possibly) very shitty passwords.
In his talk, Grady announces that there is a global epidemic called MAS: Mindless Accept Syndrome, which has gripped every worker, everywhere. It makes you accept invitations to meetings and suffer endless hours of frustration because you didn’t take the time to investigate.
The solution: say NO MAS and click the tentative button on your invitation, and talk to the person to check if your presence is really necessary. Are you doing that? If not, it’s time to start…
Stop wasting your time and other people’s and start valuing it. Lock your team in a room with padded walls and play them all of the above talks if you have to, just don’t underestimate the most valuable thing you have at your possession — it’s not your money, it’s your time.
For a decade now I’ve been arguing with my father what intelligence means. He (a member of Mensa, believe it or not) argues that IQ surely determines how smart you are, and I (forever the fan of Forrest Gump) will argue that emotional intelligence is sometimes more important than IQ.
The only time a leader doesn’t need to be emotionally intelligent is when he/she’s working with robots.
Then there’s the whole debate about “hard” versus “soft” skills, which is the same thing, really, and it’s completely pointless since an effective leader needs to have both. Let’s take Steve Jobs for example.
Jobs was— and forever will be — known as a great innovator. Some may even go as far as calling him a genius. However:
A genius does not a great leader make, necessarily.
I mean, the guy yelled and threw tantrums at work. Around him, employees had to walk on egg-shells and every time someone took the initiative to speak, he would publicly humiliate them. No wonder most of the staff of Apple left prematurely! He was more of a dictator than a leader.
A good leader would be the opposite really, so I’ve taken the liberty to collect 3 somewhat overlooked — because they are “soft” — skills in order to get to the bottom of the question of great leadership:
There was a time when Psychology was a bogus science and management was straight-forward. However, as the times bring change and we find ourselves in a less straightforward world, I’ve taken to believe that some things “make sense” and other things “make progress”. Whether these soft skills make sense to you or not, they’ve certainly made progress in both scientific and business contexts. So let’s discuss them individually.
Let’s talk about Empathy.
Empathy is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence.
Empathy is the ability to walk in someone else’s shoes for a day. It helps us connect and communicate in ways that bind us to our fellow workers. Without it, we are all islands in the same ocean.
The lesson I’m learning is that I’m useless by myself. My success hinges entirely on the people I work with — the people who enlist themselves to join me in my vision. And it’s my responsibility to see that they’re working at their best capacity.
See that? It’s the leader’s responsibility to make sure the employees are working at their best capacity, meaning they are at their most productive. I don’t know about you, but the only times I’ve been productive at work were when I wasn’t being driven crazy by a passive-aggressive boss from hell.
The manager-employee relationship is so vital to both sides’ performance that it should never be overlooked. You can’t expect for employees to be engaged without actually being engaged first by their manager, and you can’t expect the manager to make progress without knowing where the team’s at.
It’s a team effort — as cheesy as it sounds — but the leader sets the pace. The manager is the one who sets the tone of his/her relationship with team members, and if a member is slacking, then just talk to them.
But make sure you’ve set the right tone first. I agree with Angel Cabrera, President of George Mason University, when he says:
At its very heart, a business is the beauty of bringing together people and things to make the community better off — these are the businesses we admire. Empathy is the one tool that makes it all happen.
Let’s talk about Communication.
If you’re empathetic, chances are you’re a decent communicator. Notice I say decent, not great. Truth is, even an empathetic person can be bad at communicating… if they don’t listen carefully.
Communication goes both ways. Now, you may be excellent at putting your point across and even motivating your team to get the job done. But have you asked your team for feedback? Are they likely to come up and give it to you? Those are very important questions to think about.
According to employee engagement expert David McLeod, engaged staff deliver 50% higher customer loyalty, 50% higher sales, and 27% higher profits — all figures any company owner would find attractive.
Furthermore a happy, engaged employee is more likely to stick with you when, for example, the competition offers them a job. Ka-bing!
Holacracy is a very modern idea of a business without management roles. More specifically, Holacracy distributes leadership into each role, so each employee can hold different roles at different stages of the project. Ultimately, the goal is transparency — a buzz word of late, especially in entrepreneurial circles.
While the idea itself could have some holes, when it comes to communication, it solves what the traditional corporate structure cannot — the problem of communication between the different levels. It could be quite empowering for employees to be regarded as important as the VP, for example, and encouraged — by a meeting facilitator — to voice their opinions and “tensions”. In that meeting, your main priority won’t be to speak according to your job title, but to advance the project.
I don’t know about you, but I’d be trying it out before discarding the idea. Times are moving fast and new challenges are presenting to employers that we never imagined possible. To paraphrase Darwin, adapt or die.
Let’s talk about Humility.
Probably the most overlooked quality in business, and in life.
Humility is a quality few people have. It’s in the emotional intelligence toolset, but unlike empathy, it targets the self, the ego. Most people — especially bosses — have enormous egos. They wouldn’t shut up about it. And they put people off with their arrogance and selfishness.
It takes enormous strength to put your own ego aside and admit that you make mistakes. Let someone else talk. Let others list your accomplishments and shrug compliments off. It’s not about you, after all.
For you, it’s about the common good.
A humble leader not only understands and listens. A humble leader brings out the best of other people.
It’s natural that when you put yourself aside, you’re able to really see others. To see what they’re good at, to tell them that, and to inspire them to take action. You’re naturally good at leading and people are happy to follow.
Our study suggests that a ‘quieter’ leadership approach — listening, being transparent, aware of your limitations and appreciating co-workers strengths and contributions, is an effective way to engage employees.
Not only were the employees of such people more engaged, but they were also more committed to their leader’s vision. I mean, when your boss actively listens to your ideas and encourages you to share them, wouldn’t you be more committed and receptive to their ideas?
Of course you would.
So you can try this approach or… you know, idolize Steve Jobs and be a jerk at the office, but bear in mind that the bottom lines and the attitudes of your employees will be a perfect reflection of your leadership style.
We, at amazemeet, certainly hope that you can see these “soft” skills as they truly are — a competitive advantage and an enlightened way to be.