Saturday, August 29, 2009

Make the most of meetings


Business Times p.B1

Saturday, August 29, 2009 



By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

Make the most of meetings


How much time do you spend in meetings each day? One advantage of successful small enterprises over medium and large organizations is in the number and length of meetings they hold. Long, formal meetings are practically unheard of in small organizations. When they meet they do it on their feet while doing their business—virtual, frequent and informal.


The moment an organization grows, jerk bosses materialize and, oh, how they love meetings. Either they have nothing better to do or they are simply control freaks. They gather people together at the drop of a hat, so to speak, without a clear agenda. These meetings can go anywhere and end up with incomplete action plans. After the meeting, everybody heaves a sigh of relief and go back to what they were doing, no accountability and follow-through. Until the boss calls for another meeting—one-on-one or group.


Real leaders make the most of meeting time; they identify and solve real problems, manage a healthy exchange of ideas, and pinpoint accountability and agree on key result areas.


At the ASTD 2009 International Conference & Expo in Washington, D.C., I was thrilled to meet Tim Burress who gave me a copy of his book, The Hamster Revolution for Meetings: How to meet less and get more done. (Berrett Koehler Publishers, 2009).


Tim said that there is an art in meeting less and get the opportunity to get more done, be happier in our jobs, and free up more time.


He and his co-authors Mike Song and Vicki Halsey wrote about a meeting reduction tool they called P.O.S.E. or questions to ask when invited to a meeting.


          P is for priority. Does this meeting relate to my top goals for the year? When considering meeting requests, we tend to focus on availability at the expense of priority. A handy list of your high-priority goals provides an easy way to filter out low-priority requests.


          O is for Objenda. Does this meeting have a clearly stated objective and agenda? Our research indicates that 90 percent of all professionals often attend meetings that lack a clearly stated objective and agenda. The result is a meandering meeting that fails to achieve its purpose.


A good objective: To develop five new team-selling tactics that will drive this year's sales over $5million. A bad objective: To update team on sales progress and help each other sell more Spex media services.


A great agenda describes a path to achieving the meeting's stated objective. Answers the question: What will be covered by who and when? Flex to the situation. In other words, a quick 20-minute one-on-one meeting may only require two bullet-pointed agenda items in the meeting invitation.


          S is for Shorten. Can we cut the time we spend attending and scheduling meetings? Why are grown-ups always late for meetings? Dominoes. Meeting dominoes occur when back-to-back, 60-minute meetings are scheduled all through the day. This causes chaos because the first meeting ends right when the second one begins. Because we're too lazy to override the standard meeting duration time, we run around like hamsters all day long. Then the dominoes start to fall. Some are racing to their desks to jump on a teleconference that's already in progress. Many hit a technical snag that makes them even more stressed and late. Others, with face-to-face meetings are dashing across the office to another building. Stressed, cranky and embarrassed. Some are trying to squeeze in an urgent phone call. Others are nervous that they're late for a meeting run by their jerk boss. They're out of breath, unprepared, and in desperate need of a bio-break. The people who are on time are mad and resent the fact that so many people are habitually late.


          E is for E-vailable. Are we effectively using our e-calendars to accurately reflect available times? A blend of electronic and available. Like when a top executive commits to attend an Operation Elevation meeting and then backs out because he had an opening on his calendar but actually had other invisible responsibilities that he failed to take into account. E-vailability means that you improve your e-calendaring skills so that your e-calendar reflects true availability. Color code your e-calendars. Schedule me-time or an appointment with yourself. As a result you meet less and get important work done.


The three authors went on with lots of how-to's in 13 chapters and an epilogue. Very informative and practical guides for real leaders.,

Saturday, August 22, 2009

SMEntrepreneurs & women employees


Business Times p.B1

Saturday, August 22, 2009



By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

SMEntrepreneurs & women employees


Most small and medium enterprises (SMEs) thrive on a mean and lean organization. They do not want to have a bloated organization because they cannot afford that fixed manpower cost.


One of the predicaments of SMEs or even giant organizations is lactating mothers. Mothers who need to go to work, yet they have to take care of their newborn baby.


For jerk bosses, this is not an issue: Either you come to work and deserve an honest day's pay or you're outta here.


For real leaders, this is not an issue either because there are many ways of making their lactating mothers enjoy both work and motherhood. And they have an ally in Soroptimists.


The Soroptimist International Mandaluyong, led by its energetic president Gigie Viña-Peñalosa, has adopted women as the major recipients of its collective generosity and helping hands. Gigie says that to mark their 15th anniversary as a club, they will embark on:


• Breastfeeding Awareness Program


To spearhead this awareness and advocacy in cooperation with the Department of Health, in order to make women aware about the nutritional and health benefits of breastfeeding, both for infants and mothers. To help lactating women breastfeed their baby even if they are at work.


• Nutrition and Feeding Program


Now on its 7th year, to continue this project in Barangay Addition Hills, with 40 children participants, ages 4 to 6, four times a week feeding sessions, for a duration of four months. Proper food and nutrition lectures are conducted for mothers during the feeding session while children are given learning time through nursery lessons. Soroptomist Mandaluyong received the "GAWAD NUTRISYON" award from the City of Mandaluyong, for this program.


• Stop Trafficking of Women


This is one of the leading advocacies of Soroptimists all over the world. The Philippine Region puts emphasis on this program—our country being a vulnerable source for human trafficking. To raise awareness among women in Mandaluyong, Barangay Plain-view. This is a continuing campaign and will be brought to other communities in Mandalu-yong as well.


• Adopt-A-Philippine National Police Women's & Children's Protection Desk


To help strengthen WCPD in its local community in various ways by donating office supplies and equipment, providing counseling and legal support; and giving stipends for policewomen to enable them to attend conferences on policing. In this manner, to help the law enforcers in upholding not only the dignity of women victims of abuse and violence, but also to help policewomen obtain appropriate tools to carry out their jobs.


• Workplace Campaign to End Domestic Violence


Some of our action plans are information campaigns in the workplace to increase awareness on domestic violence, livelihood projects in coordination with the Mandaluyong Manpower & Development Center and donations to the National Center for Mental Health and the Sanctuary Center.


Soroptimist is a worldwide voluntary service organization of women in business and profession, with the common mission and commitment to improve the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world, through the advocacies it promotes.


To help these indefatigable ladies help your women employees and other women in depressed communicates, real leaders (both men and women) may partner with them in any of these projects. You may e-mail or call 743-3696 for any assistance you could extend to Soroptimist Mandaluyong. This is not only good for women, it is good for business, too.


The other officers of SIM are PP Ma Baldus, PE Babes Dario, Vice President Lucy Regala, Secretary Norma Mendez and Nancy Uy, Treas Rosie Lardizabal, Auditor Juanita Chua, PRO Cla Lapus and Directors Perry Reyes, Ruth Flores, Maripaz Chua, Becky Sunga and Susan Nieva.;

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Real leaders and the team mindset


Business Times p.B1

Saturday, August 15, 2009



By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

Real leaders and the team mindset


Real leaders foster collaboration, encourage communication, push for innovations, advance discussions and consensus and nurture their team. Growing a successful and productive team starts with the leader's mindset and attitudes. They enjoy work life and become friends in and outside of work.


Jerk bosses promote competition, enjoy one-way communication, support the status quo, make decisions and announce it and expect total subservience from his employees. They don't even want you to eat together or to see you talking to each other. That is why when the mouse is away, the rats do play. They form cliques.


Author Linda Eve Diamond, in her book Perfect Phrases for Building Strong Teams, wrote about mindsets of real leaders and how they show in their speech in different circums­tances. Here are some examples.


Creative thinking


• Put out an issue and give people time to think about it. Ideas pop up at the oddest times, usually when we've stopped concentrating.

• Suggest that people take a brief break to recharge

• Allow people to express their won creative styles in the workspace and in the work itself.

• Leave time for creative thinking


• "Never be afraid to speak out with a 'crazy' idea. The team favors nonconformity over conformity."

• "Don't be held back by failure. Even failed experiments teach us something. At the very least, they teach us what won't work.

• "I suggest using the afternoon break for meditation, creative imagery, fresh air—anything that recharges your creative battery."

• "What connections [or disconnection] can you find between our customer service initiative and our team's ground rules?"


Problem Solving


• Examining the causes is often necessary to find and implement solutions and prevent recurrences of the issue. However, there are instances where the cause is unimportant and searching for causes detracts from the goal. In these cases, choose solution-oriented problem solving.

• Identify and challenge assumptions.

• Gather as many perspectives as you can.

• The central problem itself may be masked by symptoms or other problems. Dig down and get to the real problem,


 • "Start thinking of challenges as opportunities."

• "What assumptions do we have going in? Are they valid? What objections do they raise and what possible solutions can we find?"

• "How many alternative scenarios can we imagine?"

• "The quality of questions we ask will determine the quality of our solutions."


Spotlight your team


• Always give credit where credit is due.

• Don't feel threatened by a team member's success; it reflects well on you, and your support as team leaders is motivational.

• Never accept an award without thanking your team first.

• Look for opportunities to showcase your team's talents.


• "This award is a reflection of my outstanding team and belongs to them as much as it does to me!"

• "I'm being interviewed tomorrow morning. I'd like every one in the photo with me."

• "Congratulations on your latest accom­plishment! Who would like to write a press release?"

• "I think a blog is a great idea. I'd like to see one that gives the whole team a chance to comment, with rotating entries."


 This is intriguing. Let's have more on common work issues such as personality clashes, blame games, gender bias, discrimination of any kind, delegation, listening, coaching and others., innovation­