On Breakfast meetings

Rudy Guiliani’s day always began with a breakfast meeting with his core team. His insistence on the daily morning meeting is stuff of legend. Whether they had a packed schedule or not, his core team knew that the breakfast meeting would stay as a part of the agenda.

5 outcomes that happened as a result that I thought were important-

1. Everybody on the team knew they would be given an opportunity to voice their concerns. Everybody felt heard.
2. Victories and accomplishments were celebrated often. This helped the team get closer.
3. Non-core team members also joined in when necessary. So, everybody felt involved.
4. Everybody knew that Guiliani would follow up on their tasks the next morning. So, nothing got delayed!
5. The group reviewed daily and weekly priorities regularly as a unit and cohesion was achieved. Guiliani carefully built his team into a great unit and it was this team that carried New York through the 9/11 disaster. All those breakfast meetings had ensured that they were prepared! Rome was not built in a day after all..

Guiliani’s breakfast meeting idea is an example of taking a simple action and repeating it consistently (like a screw or a vise). For more, do check out the article from Seth Godin here.

So, let’s schedule breakfast meetings for all high priority tasks this week! :)

Modern day oxygen

I shifted in to my new place today and I felt choked for some weird reason.

The apartment felt well ventilated so I didn’t quite understand why I felt that way.
I had just eaten lunch an hour ago so it wasn’t my stomach.
And then it hit me.
So, I rushed out for my first round of shopping and got my oxygen mask.
The little dongle was my window to the world. I could feel myself breathe in relief as I saw my email come right in after 20 hours, when I saw ‘football365’, ‘alearningaday’ and ‘facebook’ load.
Modern day oxygen, in my humble view.

On that note, I’ve been trying hard to make it a point to spend a few hours without looking at a laptop or a phone. Just sitting and enjoying time by myself, lost in my own thoughts. That’s been very refreshing..

A classic love story in the 1800s

What might that have been like?

Boy meets girl – they fall in love.
It turns out the boy has to leave to serve his country in the army.
The girl, in love, promises to wait.
They have to rely on letters.
The word ‘rely’ might be ironic for the postal service may not be reliable. No, not one bit.
So, he would go off for war and write a letter or two. She would wait.. and of course, he would wait for that reply.

She would have to worry about whether he is still alive. And if he is, if he is well.

He would have to worry about whether she is still waiting for him.
And their only contact would be those letters till..
One day, when he returns to find her still waiting.
This might be a bit too ideal but let’s just imagine, for a second, that that was the case.
And let’s imagine, for ourselves, the power of hope – because that’s what held them together through all that unimaginable uncertainty.
Over the years, the unreliable postal service became more reliable and then we were presented with telephones, emails and what not..
And, of course, our expectations with regards to communication are higher.. but hope still retains it’s mystical power. And as I write this, I just wish to remember and celebrate the power of hope.
I am reminded of that wonderful exchange in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ between Andy Dufresne and Red (over the course of the movie) –
Andy Dufresne: That’s the beauty of music. They can’t get that from you… Haven’t you ever felt that way about music?
Red: I played a mean harmonica as a younger man. Lost interest in it though. Didn’t make much sense in here.
Andy Dufresne: Here’s where it makes the most sense. You need it so you don’t forget.
Red: Forget?
Andy Dufresne: Forget that… there are places in this world that aren’t made out of stone. That there’s something inside… that they can’t get to, that they can’t touch. That’s yours.
Red: What’re you talking about?
Andy Dufresne: Hope.

Red: Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane

Andy (in letter to red): I could use a good man to help me get my project on wheels. I’ll keep an eye out for you and the chessboard ready. Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. I will be hoping that this letter finds you, and finds you well. Your friend. Andy.
Red: [narrating] I find I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.

The Guitar player at Liverpool Street station

It was a normal evening at the Liverpool street tube station. A seemingly endless mass of people were all walking briskly toward their trains at the end of a long day of work.
It was 9pm and as I took the escalator down to the Central Line, I heard a lovely tune being played. It sounded like it was coming from an acoustic guitar and as it was a rather long escalator, I couldn’t see the source of the sound yet.
When I did reach the end of the escalator, I saw a man of African origin dressed in the sort of bright clothing I associate with Africa, playing the guitar. He was evidently talented as he made me want to dance. And judging by the heap of coins in front of him, he wasn’t doing too bad either. A big group had just put down a few coins each right then.

A performer like him is not an unusual sight in big tube stations. I’d spotted a few myself in my first week here after all. But this guy.. he was special.
There was an aura of happiness around him. I stopped. I watched. I could feel myself smile looking at him enjoying himself. He noticed that I’d stopped. He looked up, smiled and nodded. I nodded right back. And he went back to playing his music. He seemed like he was in his own world. He had taken me to another one as well.. thinking of great times with family and friends.
I didn’t give him a tip. Once I’d boarded the train, I wondered why I didn’t. ‘Next time’ – I told myself.
This man, after all, had given me a moment. I felt good. There are some things in life you can’t fake. The smile on that man’s face was one from a person who was thoroughly enjoying himself.
Here was an entrepreneur. Doing work he loves.
So much to learn from situations around us. Just requires us to stop – if only for a minute, and listen…

The thing that makes it popular… (Seth Godin)

might be precisely the thing that keeps it from working.

Chatroulette was popular because you might randomly see some horrible naked guy. It was like a train wreck attracting rubberneckers. But the very attraction that drew a crowd also ensured it would never be seen as a serious tool.

That kid in school that everyone cheers on as he works to become a class clown might appear popular, but it’s certainly getting in the way of his being taken seriously enough to get into college.

I’d argue that the same thinking applies to the way you first encounter someone. You can certainly be over the top enough to get a handshake or even a meeting, but the thing that got you that meeting might be exactly what costs you the deal.

There are a hundred ways you and your organization can become more popular, earn more clicks, generate more comments… but is popular what you’re after?

Source: Godin’s blog

Godin’s blog is worth following for some pieces of absolute genius.. like this.