Resolution #1: Resolve to Set Intentions for Better Meetings

It’s now 2012 and what’s changed?  I mean other than the date.  How are those new year resolutions coming along?  What’s your plan for improving those broken relationships?  Is your financial plan in order?  How’s it going each morning with that 6am run?

Before you answer those questions, let’s take a closer look at the word Resolution

 resolutions, plural
  • A firm decision to do or not to do something
    • – she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more
    • – a New Year’s resolution
  • A formal expression of opinion or intention agreed on by a legislative body, committee, or other formal meeting, typically after taking a vote
    • – the conference passed two resolutions
  • The quality of being determined or resolute
    • – he handled the last French actions of the war with resolution
  • The action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter
    • – the peaceful resolution of all disputes
    • – a successful resolution to the problem
  • The passing of a discord into a concord during the course of changing harmony
  • The disappearance of inflammation, or of any other symptom or condition
  • The process of reducing or separating something into its components
  • The replacing of a single force or other vector quantity by two or more jointly equivalent to it
  • The conversion of something abstract into another form
  • The substitution of two short syllables for one long one
  • The smallest interval measurable by a scientific (esp. optical) instrument; the resolving power
  • The degree of detail visible in a photographic or television image

But really though, is there really a problem most of the time?  Or are you just looking to improve your life in one way or another.  I think that’s what trips people up and why most resolutions are not followed through.

In the case of the entrepreneur, we don’t need a new year to resolve to solve problems or improve our business.  We want these things by definition.  We want these things because self-improvement and self-assessment are driving tenets of entrepreneurship.  What I find most interesting are situations where people ‘invent’ resolutions because they don’t know where to start when it comes to their business challenges.  They find themselves in the same pattern, perhaps doing the minimum to get by, to break even, to cover the nut.

Say one of your resolutions this year is to grow your company’s revenue.  There’s a lot that can go into that 1 resolution.  You’d have to think through a well balanced

business plan that considers the investment you’ll need to make to generate more revenue, and the expansion in resources and/or supply that is required for revenue growth.  Again, such a lofty endeavor can often trip entrepreneurs up until they find themselves in a mode of stasis like Dostoyevskys’ Underground Man.

If you haven’t yet read “Notes from Underground”, I highly recommend it.  For the purposes of this post, it is quite an extreme example as this has nothing to do with consciousness or free will.  But the important takeaway is that it is easy to get caught up in resolutions and gigantic life changes to the point that you find yourself not taking action, or worse yet, going backwards.  In the case of the Underground Man, he found himself sitting in a chair, quite motionless, just staring out into space with his thoughts and analysis.

Instead, start small with focus.

Set Intentions for Better Meetings

One thing is certain in the world of the entrepreneur, you are going to have meetings.  Lots of them.  Perhaps they will be over coffee, or via Skype or the latest craze, Google Hangouts:


But before you meet, set the intention.  A great mentor of mine back in my early days (around age 21, circa 1996) would always ask me as we drove to a client meeting:  “What do we want to accomplish in this meeting?”

It seems like such an obvious question, but I took it to mean something more profound.  I began to imagine what the last 5 minutes of a 60 minute meeting would look like.  What would we conclude, what action items would we take, what direction were we headed.  Even though the meeting itself would dictate the ultimate answers to those questions, having an idea of what was to be accomplished made tremendous difference in the value of the meeting.

Setting that intention saves precious time and demonstrates resolve to your client, partner, staff, team.  Try the following to make the intention stick:

  1. Right when you schedule the meeting, write an intention and purpose in the calendar entry.
  2. The day before or a few hours before, consider what is to be accomplished.  Visualize the players in that meeting.  What role will each play, what role will you play.
  3. Send an advance email to the indivdiuals with a sense of the intention – not necessarily an agenda or an attempt to summarize your points in advance of the meeting, but at least an outline of the purpose.  This gets people thinking.
  4. State the intention at the beginning of the meeting.
  5. Repeat and revise the intention at the end of the meeting.

So, before your next meeting, or even your next resolution, get clear on what you want to accomplish.  Otherwise, you might end up in a basement staring off into space :)

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