Despite being constantly connected, we are experiencing a loneliness epidemic (see HBR series here). Building real relationships is more important than ever. You can start where you work and Alex Brookings and team are doing things right at B.GOOD.
The lessons that Alex shares and my experiences as a customer stand out. These are things that you can practice with your teams in the way you treat the people you meet and interact with on a daily basis. One or two minutes can make the difference in someone’s day.
Alex is Director of Operations for B.GOOD restaurants in Maine and Vermont. He started his career in fine dining and thrives in places that emphasize the importance of working together. In 2013 he joined forces with colleague and friend William Zolper, opening a first B.GOOD location in Portland’s Old Port. Since, Brooking and Zolper have opened 2 more locations (South Portland and Burlington, Vermont), and look forward to adding more.
B.GOOD is a growing fast-casual franchise specializing in locally sourced ingredients and healthy menu options revolving around the growing season.
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What do International Pro Basketball and Community Business Building have in common? Nik Caner-Medley.
You may know Nik Caner-Medley as a former star basketball player at Deering High School or the University of Maryland. Most recently, he has signed a 2-year contract with Movistar Estudiantes in Madrid Spain. What you may not know, is that Nik is a business and community-builder in Portland, Maine.
We recorded this show in the Boardroom at Cloudport Coworking Multi-space, while Nik is here for the summer. He is the owner and developer.
Co-working and multi-space environments have captured my attention as a business owner in recent years. The opportunities for greater collaboration in the community and improved blending of work and life are tremendous and inspiring.
In more than 20 years of office-working, this has been the most supportive and motivating environment I have experienced. There are better ways of working and I hope you enjoy the conversation.
Learn more at Cloudport.
Andrew Silsby shares the secret to engagement for wellness and business. It involves a tractor, a “dreadmill” and other key ingredients for an award-winning wellness plan.
Andrew E. Silsby is President and CEO of Kennebec Savings Bank, a $900 million mutual banking organization headquartered in Augusta Maine. Silsby started his career in banking as a summer teller in 1986 and joined Kennebec Savings Bank in 1993 where he steadily climbed the ranks to begin leading the organization as President in 2014. The organization embarked on an effort to increase employee wellness by creating a multifaceted program to foster and encourage healthier living with its 121 employees. Andrew sits down to discuss some of the lessons the organization learned over the past two years in making employee wellness a priority at Kennebec Savings Bank. https://www.kennebecsavings.bank
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What if there was a simple and effective tool that could help children who suffer from trauma, kids who put too much pressure on themselves, those with special needs, and perhaps kids who have been bullied. Something that could help the child while also helping the teacher.
Julie Campilio has created a simple and powerful solution and she has put it into practice for the past 10 years in schools, positively impacting students (3-18), teachers, and parents. (RadiantBeginningsYoga.com)
Julie struggled with an anxiety and attention deficit disorder since she was a child. Yoga and mindfulness helped her overcome years of panic attacks and medication, so she founded Radiant Beginnings Yoga to help others focus naturally and manage stress in their own lives.
While teaching in 2008, she saw an immediate change in students who were having difficulty self-regulating and managing stress. Watching students shift from anxious, impulsive and unfocused to calm and focused is what drove her to share holistic self-coping strategies through yoga and mindfulness. She is using yoga and mindfulness strategies to increase focus, attention, self- awareness and self-regulation.
Quote from a young student:
“After recess, I was really mad at someone in here. During the video, I looked over at that person and now I just feel calm. I forgot why I was even mad at that person.”
Learn More at http://www.radiantbeginningsyoga.com
Let’s start with a story. In a recent conversation with clients, one person was feeling that her schedule seemed unmanageable and proceeded to open her calendar. She turned her laptop so that I could look and her schedule seemed all too familiar. Every single hour was booked. From the moment she enters the office, until the end of her day, a solid block of meetings. With a schedule like that, how do you get your work done? In her case, she tries to handle work outside of work. After dinner or before the workday begins, she’s trying to clear out emails, answer her customers, and get work done.
This scenario rings true in the interviews I have conducted with dozens of peers and clients. People tell me that most meetings they attend are unproductive, that their input is not valued, or the material in the meeting is not relevant to them. Another common occurrence is that people book meetings for an hour regardless of content. And even if the topics have been covered in 40 minutes, people continue to talk until the hour is up.
With virtual meetings, feedback was almost unanimous. Most attendees are not focused on content or involved in the discussion. People aren’t engaged so they’re just sitting there listening and waiting to contribute, which leads to multi-tasking.
If this sounds familiar, I have solutions.
During the past ten years, working for national and global organizations, meetings were the way we got work done or at least a common approach. Then I met Jeff Henderson, the chief information officer for TD. He launched a program and discussions on handling meetings differently. We were essentially given permission and the tools to change. The program he started continues to improve the way I work today, so I want to share a few of his ideas to make your meetings better.
Most of the meetings we schedule are 30 or 60 minutes, let’s reframe that time. Think about how much information is shared in a 5 minute TED Talk. At least for me, when I’m listening to a TED Talk, I am amazed by how inspired I am and by how much information I can gain in just a short amount of time, and that all comes down to preparation. That’s really what it’s about.
Commit to trying the following ideas for a week and then email me at Elizabeth@BreakTogether.net
I want to hear about your experience and whether this makes a difference in your meetings.
- Schedule shorter meetings. 20 or 45 minutes. Often people are just doing the default, right? Outlook and Google default 30 or 60-minute meetings. Schedule your meeting for a shorter time. People will be thrilled to see a meeting invite for 20 or 45 minutes because it’s unlikely for someone else to book their time at the end of that half hour or hour.
- Verify the purpose of the meeting. Whether you are the organizer or attendee, do you or any of the invitees truly need to be there? Could you or an invitee contribute through email or a quick conversation? If you aren’t clear, talk to the organizer and ask if you can contribute in another way. Practice that same technique when you are the leader.
- Preparation. While brainstorming meetings are helpful in some situations, look closely at your agenda. Do you have clear goals? Have you prepared for what you need to accomplish in the time allotted and is everyone else clear? Make sure you have timekeeper and a facilitator; both are important. These are reasonable things to expect if you’re attending a meeting and imperative if you are leading one.
- Feel free to decline. If you believe your presence will not add value at a meeting, at a minimum it will allow you to clarify the meeting organizer’s expectations of you, right? If someone else declines your meeting and you need them, it gives you an opportunity to contact them to clarify your goals for having them there. I bet they will be thankful for the communication.
Even if your company is not rolling out a program, you can practice these steps on your own.
Those are the four things that I took with me from Jeff’s program at TD and I continue to be grateful for his initiative to make our workday better.
Bonus Tip #5
The first five minutes of a meeting are usually spent waiting for people to show up or beep in if it’s a conference call. Or, the meeting might begin on time and re-start when key people show up.
Here is a very simple solution for both. Use the first 5 minutes for an engaging activity. Ask people to unplug, let go of what they just came from, and interact. Here’s a link to five simple activities that take 5- 10 minutes or less.
You will learn something about the people that you’re with, even if you have worked together for 20 years, so try that.
Let’s make meetings better. Let’s make them more mindful, connect with one another, and stop wasting the first five minutes.
I guarantee that if you get known for starting meetings with something fun, people will be on time.
Let me know if you find that to be true for you at Elizabeth@BreakTogether.net. Make it a great day!