Monday, November 30, 2009

Managing Cross Generation Meetings...


I continue to go through the archives and find one gem after another. I don't stop long enough to real give any of these things I create enough time to get out there. I'm too busy being creating the next thing - a gift and a blessing indeed!

Last year I did a webinar with Robert Wendover from the Center for Generational Studies. We wrote back in 2005 a super cool book for AMACOM titled,
On Cloud Nine:Weathering Many Generations in the Workplace. I wrote a very amusing and all humility aside - sparkling little gems of fable.

In the webinar Bob and I give you a taste for the fable and dive into a discussion of how to manage inter-generational meetings. Here's the marketing blurb about the webinar...

Learn five powerful solutions for boosting meeting productivity in 40 minutes flat!

We’ve all been there – the weekly staff meeting – the Boomers are sharing what they did over the weekend – the Xers are anxious to get it over ASAP – the Millennials are texting their friends, updating Twitter, and shopping on-line. There’s got to be a better way – and there is!

Join Terrence Gargiulo and Robert Wendover, co-authors of On Cloud Nine: Weathering the Challenge of Many Generations in the Workplace, as they reveal the secrets for navigating the meeting needs and expectations of those ages 17 to 70. With the increasing pressures on time and money, you can’t afford this time-wise webinar. We all know the problems, this is about the solutions. Come away with the tricks you need to manage meeting times in a productive and efficient way.
Here's an archived video of the presentation...

Managing Cross Generational Meetings from Terrence Gargiulo on Vimeo.


Managing Cross-Generational Meetings
Robert W. Wendover
The Center for Generational Studies

It happens all the time. We sit in a meeting. The topic needs to be addressed but isn’t all that interesting. The person presenting or facilitating the discussion struggles to keep everyone engaged. We look around the room. A few people are offering ideas and discussing the issue. Others are doing non-related paperwork. Still others are surfing the Web on their handhelds or even texting each other under the table about how boring the meeting is.

With the pressure to do more with less these days, few people have the tolerance to sit through a meeting that they perceive as wasting their time. This is especially true of emerging professionals who are so conscious of their time to begin with. So how can we find a way to manage meetings effectively, particularly across the generations? Here are some ideas:

Commit “Meetingus vanishus.” Many people have concluded that as a society, we meet too much. Ask people about all the different meetings to which they are committed to each week and you’ll get a list of five or more. Ask those same people how many are really necessary and they will roll their eyes. Dare to ask those attending regular meetings if the meeting is really necessary. Press for the truth and you’ll probably get a good feel for which meetings can be eliminated.

But information does have to be disseminated. The obvious answer is technology. Decide what can be distributed electronically and then develop a means for do so. Several years ago, banking giant Capital One purchased 3000 iPods, for instance, and distributed them to managers and other professionals across the organization. “Feel free to use the iPod to your hearts content,” these people were told. All we ask is that when the company sends you podcasts on topics ranging from training issues to financial updates that you listen to the information.” This practice has consequently saved thousands hours of time and added millions of dollars to the bottom line.

Cross generate the meeting. The person in charge tends to be the person running the meeting. Who says that’s the best way to get things done? Try appointing individuals from different generations to the role of meeting leader. This can accomplish several goals: 1) It will re-engage those who have disengaged from the meeting’s purpose. 2) It will foster the creativity of those in the room. 3) It will demonstrate the different approaches to getting the meeting objective accomplished. 4) It will help those in charge to identify the leadership attributes within the team.

Establish upright meetings. Who says meetings have to take place in a reclining position? More than one manager has discovered that simply gathering people together on the factory floor or office break room is an effective way to get a quick decision. Why not take more advantage of this strategy? If some privacy is needed, remove the chairs from the room ahead of time. Sure there may be a few comments, but the result with be a quicker and more effective meeting. Don’t believe me? Just try it a couple of times.

Meet virtually. Even if everyone attending is in the same facility, it can be more efficient to meet via a telephone bridge or conferencing software. Since most people comfortable multi-taking their way through the day, this practice will enable them to improve their efficiency and still participate in a meaningful way.

Robert W. Wendover is director of The Center for Generational Studies and author The Sandwich Manager: Simple Solutions for Supervising Those Seventeen to Seventy. Contact him at

Check out
more information on the book

So how are you managing these dynamics? Tell us your story.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

In the Land Of Difficult People

Lots of content resting in rich archives. Below is a video of the webinar, tool, and TV appearances for an AMACOM book.

I had a grand time collecting stories from around the world for a book on difficult people. In the Land of Difficult People: 24 Timeless Tales Reveal How to tame Beasts at work was loads of fun.

I offered a webinar earlier on the year on topic. Here are the questions we looked at:

Are people’s job performances in your organization plagued by difficult behaviors?

Do projects suffer when people are unable to work effectively with each other?

Are you leveraging people’s differences and the tensions created by these to achieve results?

There are no difficult people, well at least not many, but there are lots of difficult behaviors and each and every one of us is guilty of engaging in them.

Based on the book, In the Land of Difficult People: 24 Timeless Tales Reveal How to Tame Beasts at work, this webinar uses a fun and interactive strategy to tackle destructive behaviors that are getting in the way of your organization achieving its results.

Difficult People from Terrence Gargiulo on Vimeo.

Here's a summary of the key points and a follow-up job aid I sent participants...


• There are very few truly difficult people. Just lots of difficult behaviors.

• We are all guilty of behaviors that cause difficulty for others and we are usually not aware of it.

• People drive organizational performance.

• Future competitive advantage will be directly correlated with the quality, effectiveness and depth of relationships in organizations.

• Meaningful conversations nurture relationships.

• Stories are a natural and essential part of meaningful conversations.

• “The shortest distance between people is a story.” – Terrence Gargiulo

• Seek to understand others first.



What’s In It for Them


What do I care about?
What’s important to me?
Do I have any communication allies?


Whenever you can, planning for a communication with someone who is exhibiting difficult behavior that is impacting your performance or just causing you consternation can lead to better results.

Try imaging the world from their vantage point. Start by considering any situational constraints. These are any things that might interfere or effect the way you can interact with this person.

We tend to simplify people’s behavior into simplistic causal explanations. These are often wrong or just a fraction of the picture.

Reflect on they why’s of their behavior by asking what’s important to them. Do so with an open mind.

Examine your assumptions. What filters, values, beliefs, information, ideas, opinions, etc… are coloring your view?

Be sure to consider what’s important to you. What do you need and what do you care about? Consider anyone you might enlist as a communication ally. These are people who might support, clarify or advocate.

Five to ten minutes of quality reflecting can lead to a world of difference.

Here are some video clip of TV interviews I did for the book...


I'd love to hear some of your real-life stories of difficult people.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Story Matters Episode 5

I promise to get back to our Stories and Leadership series. I just realized I had a lot of content I haven't had a chance to share. As I am preparing for a special holiday episode of Story Matters Productions (episode 7) I discovered I have only posted one of the episodes (episode 6) on my blog. Shame on me!

For those of you new to the unique format, here's what Story Matters is all about...

StoryMatters is a format for maximizing learning from experience and applying it in the workplace. Stories are used to spark deeper conversations creating multiple layers of meaning that have relevance to team members. The StoryMatters process promotes a culture of continuous learning within an organization by modeling the skills of advocacy and inquiry. In this way, StoryMatters can become an invaluable tool for any learning organization.

StoryMatters: The Process

I. Read or tell three 99 word stories – these stories act as triggers to spark listeners' imaginations
II. Listeners recapitulate the stories to find index words that capture the essence of the stories
III. Listeners leverage the index words to find personal stories along the same theme
IV. Those stories are shared and people hearing them share their reactions
V. Conclude with a dialog and conversation of themes and relationships between stories

Without any further ado (drum roll please)'s Episode #5.

Story Matters Episode #5 from Terrence Gargiulo on Vimeo.

Okay so what did our stories stir up for you? Its all about the dialogue so please do not be bashful share your thoughts!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Art of Persuasion with Stories: Dialog With Bob Dickman

Today I had the pleasure of dialoguing with Bob Dickman of First Voice. Bob has a wonderful book he co-authored with Richard Maxwell titled The Elements of Persuasion: Using Storytelling to Pich Better, Sell Faster, and Win More Business.

We spent 45 minutes with a great group of folks comparing notes of our organizational story work and our experiences of coaching people to be more effective.

One of the key themes that emerged was the power of story in helping us to imagine the viewpoint of others and find effective ways of sharing our own. We explored Bob's simple, elegant, and profoundly nuanced five elements of persuasion.

Here are a few of the questions we explored...

Have you ever wondered how to expand your influence without having to sell?

Have you tapped into your natural “storyability” to transport people to see the world through your eyes?

Would you like to put one or two new techniques into practice to expand your influence through story?

Here's a recording of our dialogue.

The Art of Persuasion with Stories: Dialog Between Terrence Gargiulo & Bob Dickman from Terrence Gargiulo on Vimeo.

I'd love to hear your successes and challenges with working with stories during an influence process...