Archive for September, 2012

How Should a Founder Run A Team Meeting?

September 28th, 2012

Entrepreneur asks: "Hey Durkin, I'd like to start holding a team meeting each week with my entire team. You know, like an all-hands-on-deck type meeting. Everyone in one room. Talking about the company. Where we're going. What we're doing. Goals. Success metrics. Etc. What do you recommend?"

Great question.

First off. I think team meetings are really important. I'm not "anti-meeting" like a lot of people I've met / read about / etc. I actually think productive meetings are a great way to accomplish a ton of shit in a short period of time. Are their opportunity costs? Sure. Switching costs? Sure. I get it. Poorly run meetings can be death. But, successful meetings can provide necessary structure, kills multiple birds with one stone, provide motivation, or even reinvigorate an entire company!

I encourage people to switch up the way they conduct team meetings every six months or so. This seems like a long enough time for people to get into a routine of what to expect in team meetings, and also long enough where after six months people desire a change in pace. Change is good!

Here are two of my favorite ways to conduct team meetings:

Type A Meeting: (20 minute meeting)

1. CEO talks for 3 - 5 minutes about the business.

2. Exec team members talk for 60 seconds each about important projects in their respective departments (VP Sales talks sales, VP Marketing talks marketing, VP Engineering talks tech, etc).

3. Team members are invited to speak about interesting projects they are working on for five minutes.

4. Props: people on the team are invited to give praise to other individuals on the team who have helped them.

5. Who Needs Help?: this question is asked to the team, and team members are invited to say a project that they need help on from other people on the team publicly, providing accountability cross departments.

Type B Meeting: (20 minute meeting)

1. Moderator opens up team meeting with the "Theme of the Week."

2. One team member from each department is asked to submit a three-bullet-point update to the team.

3. Props

4. Who Needs Help?

I have attached a number of examples below of a Type B meeting. I prefer it because it allows more people on the team to talk, and is less "top-down" (CEO --> Exec Team --> Team). I also like it because it allows the entire team to rally behind a theme each week. Sometimes the theme of the week is focused around sales. Sometimes the theme of the week is focused around product. Sometimes it can be a word like "Execution," other times will be something motivational, and other times will be totally wacky and fun. The point is to send a message to the team that "This week we need to focus on our Q3 sales goal HARD." Orrrr "This week we should celebrate our successes from last week." Orrr "This week we need to pay attention to testing our platform." Etc. You get the idea.

Check out the team agendas provided below (I deleted sensitive information and all numbers are fictitious).

Each one of these is typed up the night before the meeting and is printed out and handed to team members at each team meeting. Hope this helps!

2012.09.17 - Agenda for Tuesday Morning Meetings test

2012.09.05 - Agenda for Tuesday Morning Meetings test

2012.08.21 - Agenda for Tuesday Morning Meetings test


The Next Future President of the U.S.A. Must Be Able to Do THIS

September 20th, 2012

I've been thinking a lot about the upcoming presidential election. It does seem like this election has significantly more weight behind it than any election in my lifetime, although I'm sure people could argue that either way. I do think this election is a real important one. That's why I encourage everyone in my office to vote! One site that allows you to do it is: If you haven't registered yet, do it so you can vote on election day. I hope all entrepreneurs in town encourage their team members to vote.

When I think about what's important to me in a candidate, a whole long list comes to mind. I want that person to be smart, aggressive, a great negotiator, respected and respectful. I care about making sure my life is the best it can possibly be. I care about my family and my friends and their lives. I care about causes I care about. I'm like 99% of people in that I have my own strong views on certain things, and other things I don't seem to give a shit about. There are a solid 10-20 core issues I've found people are taking into consideration for their decision on this upcoming election.

It turns out, most people I talk to are pretty well decided on who they are going to vote for for President. Out of the 30 people I asked "Who are you going to vote for in the next presidential election?" each one of them had a definite answer on one candidate or the other. I then asked whether or not they would entertain the idea of switching their vote to the other candidate. 29 out of the 30 said flat out "no."

Which got me to thinking...

I'm not on the inside of President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney's campaigns, but I imagine they are likely no longer focused on SWITCHING votes but are instead focused on inspiring their followers to do two things:

1. Show up, and

2. Bring their friends, neighbors, and family to the election booth with them. 

This election is going to be about showing up. Not switching votes.

If you are to expand any energy at all, it should be to drive/walk/run/bike to the election booth. If you have any interest in expanding any MORE energy at all, it should be to drive/walk/run/bike your friends, neighbors, and family to the election booth.

Romney will have to inspire this intense passion and feeling in people to do this if he wants to win the WhiteHouse. And Obama will have to do the same to keep it.