As a leader, you need to understand your team to lead them individually and collectively, effectively. In this episode, host John Laurito talks about the importance of having a work meeting without an agenda. Freely ask and answer questions unrelated to work, so you’ll know what’s in everyone’s mind to avoid misunderstandings and keep rapport strong. The only way you can do that is to talk to the team, start a conversation with them about their personal lives, and get to know them more.
[1:48] What is an agenda-less meeting?
[4:38] How should you do that in this virtual world?
[5:01] Here’s the challenge for leaders
[8:10] Ask the question: What’s on your mind?
John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good after running companies small and large for the last 20 years. Today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name’s John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic. What makes the best leader so good? Welcome to tomorrow’s leader!
John All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dove deep on all things leader-related, to leading yourself and leading others. I am John Laurito your host today. So I’m going to start today with a request from all my faithful listeners. And by the way, this podcast I’m super excited about has reached new heights. We have expanded our viewership, our listenership to now 60 high 60s in terms of countries across the world, and we have grown exponentially in the last few months, which is awesome. I’m glad to hear. it, glad to see it. I welcome all the new listeners out there.
John Do me a favor go down below. Take a minute at some point before, after. At some point in this episode, go down below. Please review the episode. Let me know what you think your opinion really matters, but it also helps get this in the hands of other people, the more reviews we get. That’s the way the analytics of this work is. The more reviews you get, the more exposure the podcast gets. I don’t make any money on the podcast. I’m looking to do that. My pure focus is on providing value and creating content and listening to you. So many of the topics that I talk about are things that I hear directly from leaders in all different varieties of industries, in all different levels, just different unique challenges, sometimes very similar challenges. So I want to take this as and make this a platform so that other people can learn, and that’s purely what the focus is here. But they can’t do that unless they know that tomorrow’s leader exists. So I appreciate your help.
John OK, let me talk about today’s topic, and that is the value of the agenda. Less meaning, yes. Agenda less meaning what? What? Why do you have a meeting without an agenda? John, we’ve heard you talk about the fact that you got to have some kind of meeting when you go to a call or an agenda. Absolutely. I get it. But I was having a great conversation with somebody earlier in the week, a CEO of a global company, and he said, You know what, we have just developed our whole redesign to reset our whole norm for how we work in the course of a week. And it’s all these Zoom meetings or go-to meetings and every single one of them has an agenda to it. I mean, literally, you don’t go into a meeting unless you have an agenda for it or there’s a specific purpose for it. Let me not even say agenda, but let’s say there’s a specific purpose.
John There aren’t too many times in a week where you have maybe you’re part of a conference call. And yes, you know, I don’t even know what the purpose of this call is, but usually, especially if it’s a one on one meeting, you know what the purpose is. Say we’re going to talk about this recruiting, sales, marketing, whatever operations. There’s a focus and a point for his point. And my 100 percent agreement and my point as well, is we have lost the whole touch of the value that we get from that non-agenda. Non there’s no objective, but just having a conversation with somebody and the people in our organization in particular that we ultimately he that turns into a relationship builder, it turns into unbelievable value in terms of me as a leader and being able to impact and influence somebody or vice versa, then being able to influence me.
John You know, there were so many times and running organizations where I might get 30 seconds with somebody in a hallway and just ask them a couple of questions. And there’s so much value in that literally, I would get something in that conversation that they would tell me, and I’d say, Wow, I didn’t know that that was going on in my organization. I actually didn’t realize that’s how people were feeling. Maybe it was something where I said, Hey, you know, tell me a little bit more about that. Or I’d ask that person, Hey, you know, Tara, tell me a little bit what? What’s going on? How’s your week going? Whatever. And something in that conversation would open up an opportunity for a leadership moment. And I will tell you, I cannot tell you how many times that happen and I get done with that 30-second interaction or what. And it might have turned into a 10 minute or 30-minute interaction.
John But I get done without it. I’d say, Wow, that was so fortunate that we had that interaction. I never would have known that. I never would have learned that, or I wouldn’t have gotten an opportunity to impact their thinking or help them understand something had I not just popped my head in and said hello. So the question and the challenge to all of us as leaders out there is how do you do that in this virtual world? Or if you’re running multiple sites, multiple locations across state lines, maybe globally, how do you solve for that need when you’re sitting behind a computer? It’s tough, right? It’s tough. So the challenge that we have to you is to take a minute, take a few moments at every meeting and go off-script, so to speak.
John Go off your agenda. Ask some questions of the people in the group, it doesn’t have to have anything to do with that but ask the person on the other side, just find a challenge yourself to see if you can find out one thing about that person that you didn’t know, doesn’t it? And I’m not talking about business. I’m talking about personal something. If nothing else, it’s a relationship builder. But I will tell you, I think that’s what’s missing right now as we live in this virtual world. And I think about it in this conversation I had had. The conversation was great and it just was like this big yellow brick in the forehead realization that while we have lost that piece of our whole way of leading an organization, you know, it was helping, helping to build a culture was building an energy, and it was all the non-scripted, unplanned interactions that I would have with people that was actually more valuable many times than the leadership meeting that I would have with the sales meeting or the finance meeting.
John I would have whatever it was, those interactions in between that were so incredibly valuable. So I’m interested to get your thoughts. I’d love you to, you know, message me or text me whatever and call me. Let me know I’d love to get your thoughts. How were you as a leader solving for that? What are you doing in your organization to tap into the stuff, the conversations, the things that are going on in people’s minds that you may not realize are there, that may be affecting them in a negative way, potentially and impacting their ability to ultimately get something done? I had to give you an example.
John I had a conversation with somebody recently that had a misunderstanding of a this was a coaching client of mine that had a misunderstanding of a situation that was happening in their workplace. And they took this situation and they kind of connected some dots that really they drew a picture in their mind that wasn’t there. And what it made this person feel like is that they were not getting credit for something that they had done and ultimately their position was kind of in jeopardy. And what this person told me afterward is they found out only through kind of sheer luck that they had totally misread the situation. And here this person was for probably a month having this. This thought in her mind that, okay, I’m not enjoying this anymore because I think my career is not safe for my position is not safe. I’m not having fun and this negativity built up and this person started to potentially disengage.
John Even who was an ‘a-player’ in this company and ultimately was because of just total mis information. And it was just a unique situation that didn’t. But I think about that, that leaders job is to understand what people are going through, what they’re dealing with. And the only way sometimes you can do that is by going off script and then getting away from the set agenda of that meeting and asking people, Hey, what’s on your mind? What’s going on? What are you thinking about? What keeps you up at night? That’s a great question. What keeps you awake at night that you want to get to the real heart of something? Just ask that question and people will tell you what’s on their mind. But as leaders, we’ve got to ask the questions.
John So my message to you today is the value of the agendaless meeting the pick of the phone to see how many times go back over the last week. Take a look at your schedule, take a look at your phone, whatever, and see how many times you talk to somebody where it wasn’t based on a scheduled meeting. That’s a really good measure, right? Maybe you just picked up the phone to call somebody and check and see how they’re doing or whatever. Just think about that is your whole week based around a schedule and planned out meetings? And is the meeting itself that 99 percent of it all based on? Here’s what we came in to talk about today.
John Let’s go through this thing by may. Take some time, take some time to get to know people, ask the right questions, and you as a leader will come out of it. With such valuable information, you’ll understand more about your organization. You’ll understand what’s going on with your people. You’ll be at a better, stronger position to lead because you have more clarity. You actually see the true picture of what’s going on in your organization, and that is essential, absolutely essential for a leader. So some quick thoughts on that hope that’s helpful. And take it, run with it. Do what you want with it, but I’d love to get your feedback.
John How are you addressing this? How are you addressing this whole issue that we have now in this virtual world? So message me. I’ll take your info, your ideas and share them in one of our future podcasts. As always, I appreciate you liking sharing, subscribing, all that kind of good stuff. And as I mentioned earlier, go down below and give a five-star review. I’d much appreciate it, and I’ll look forward to seeing you next time. Thanks, everybody. Bye.
John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader for suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching. Reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Once again, that’s John@johnlaurito.com.