Consultants Web sites

A telephone call

There really is no end to what’s happening ‘out there’ and who are the movers and shakers. 

I found another one, Dave Winer, who pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software.  He is a former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies.

What was interesting to me was his  podcast phone call with Chris Brogan, marketing mogul. 

What do you do when you want the world to hear what a smart, influencial person has to say about the latest trends in social marketing?  Call him up, record the conversation, and create a podcast.  Genious.

It’s 30 minutes long, but you don’t have to listen to the whole thing.  It’s just kind of fun to listen to two smart guys having a conversation.  Plus, you can learn something about what’s happening in the twitter, blog, web 2.0 world.

Consultants Web sites


fansHave you heard about creating fans instead of customers?

I’ve heard that all you need is 1000 true fans and you’re financially set for life.

Here is an excellent  slideshare presentation that talks about the new fan economy.

Wow, the things you learn when you know people (or the right people).  This guy, Bud Caddell, gets paid to sit around and think all day.  He reads about 300 blogs a day. (So I guess he does more than thinking.)

Maybe I’ll give him one more to read.

flickr photo by wvs

Consultants Thoughts

The Meeting Canoe (Part 2)

I thought I’d try a new tactic and keep you in suspense for a day (of course, it only works for my one daily reader.  There’s more? Please reveal yourself.)

Or it could be that I just ran out of time last night and didn’t want to finish the post.

Anyway, here’s the rest of the story.

The Meeting Canoe is about how to design a meeting, and it gets it’s name from the shape associated with the design concept, which looks like the top view of a canoe, when you’re looking down it – thin on one end, getting fatter in the middle, then getting thin again at the end.

1.  Welcome

The first thing you want to do in a meeting is welcome people.  Let them know that they are in a different space.  One of the most important aspects in architecture is how one enters the building – the entryway.  The same is true for a meeting, make it pleasant and welcoming.  Let people know you are glad they are there and make it a place they want to stay.

2.  Connect to each other and the task

Remind people what they have in common and why they are there.  When people are connected to the group, they are more likely to participate and be engaged in the conversation.

3.  Discover the way things are

Share information, have a discussion about the current state of whatever topic you are meeting about.  Allow all perspectives to be presented.

4.  Elicit people’s dreams

Get people into the future.  What would the situation look like if everything happened the way they’d like it to?  Get creative and invoke the arts, use skits, freewriting, stream of consciousness, headlines, or any method to get people thinking outside the norm.

5.  Decide who does what

This is where you create action plans, give assignments, and have a clear understanding of the next steps.

6.  Attend to the end

Review agreements.  Understand the path forward. End with a feeling of excitement, motivation, and possibility.  Appreciate everyone’s time and contribution.

Those are the 6 steps to the meeting canoe.  The canoe shape is derived from the size and depth of the conversation.  At the beginning, it is somewhat small talk with little emotion or feeling.  As the meeting progresses, discussion gets deeper, more involved, more passionate and detailed.  Then, in closing, we begin to converge on specifics, wrap up the loose ends, and feel complete or finished.  It’s a gradual curve, thus the canoe shape – a great memorable image for designing any meeting.


Books Consultants

The Meeting Canoe (Part 1)

One of my favorite consultants I had the opportunity of working very closely with is Dick Axelrod.  He was basically the father of the Engagement movement with his books, Terms of Engagement and You Don’t Have to Do It Alone.  He taught me a lot about consulting, putting on workshops, and working with groups.  His books contain simple, yet powerful concepts, with his latest free e-book  as a perfect example, a short read with timeless lessons.  In fact, his whole Everyday Engagement effort was developed when working with our team, so I’ll take a little credit here (but no where else.)

One of my favorite concepts I learned from Dick was the meeting canoe.  He really keyed in on meetings and said to me, “If you want to find out about the culture of a company, just attend one of their meetings.”  How people interact with each other is truly surfaced in meetings, so his take was that if you wanted to change the culture of a company or organization, just start by changing their meetings.  Meetings are what people seem to hate the most, therefore, they are the greatest source and have the greatest potential for changing the organization’s culture.

Consultants Web sites

Judging a Solution

There are 6 criteria for judging whether an improvement solution will be effective. (As explained by Eli Goldratt in his Webcast Series)

A solution must:

  1. Produce results and excellent benefits
  2. Be a win/win/win for all who’s collaboration is needed
  3. Have small risk relative to the benefits
  4. Be simpler than what we do now
  5. Have a sequence that enables people to get on board because the first actions deliver significant, immediate results
  6. Be one that does not self-destruct, or is blind to the dangers of success.


Of course, Goldratt has outlined a method with strategies and tactics that meets all criteria in the realm of Project Management.  It is amazingly simple, but would require significant behavior changes and difficult decisions by top leaders in a large company.  Still, many companies are being successful at applying his method.