Tips for Effective Meetings

Tips for Effective Meetings with Your Board: Lessons from a First-Time CEO

I’ve been fortunate to learn about running effective meetings from seasoned and experienced executives.

My board’s chair has run three public companies and three venture-backed companies.  My audit committee chair was the CFO of one of the most successful IPOs of the 2000 tech bubble. Another board member has built and sold numerous businesses and sat on numerous boards (both public and private) over the the past five decades. My newest board member is a partner of our private equity firm and is continuously working with CEOs at a board level.

While each of my board members has a bit of a different perspective, all of them have taught me a great deal about running an effective board meeting.  Here’s are the techniques I’ve learned.

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Toxic sign

Getting Past the Poison and Working Together as a Team

We have a major problem in America. Our political system has become so poisonous that it is impossible for us to make decisions and move forward.

We need to learn the difference between negotiation and compromise and principles that cannot be altered.

There are certain things that are fundamental, issues of moral principle, that simply cannot be negotiated. However, the majority of issues, are available to compromise.

It is essential that we learn to negotiate, to look at the positives and similarities that we have with others. We need to learn what working together as a team really is.

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Episode #000: Introducing the New Humble Confidence Podcast: “Steal My Show” [Podcast]

In January, I’ll be officially launching a new podcast on the Humble Confidence blog: “Steal My Show.”

Today, I’m excited to share Episode 0 with you. It’s a preview, of sorts, and an attempt to get the attention of TobyMac and ForeFront Records (Toby, please respond to david[at]daviddewolf.com).

Over the past several weeks I have been trying to get their permission to use Toby’s song “Steal My Show” as the theme song for my the new Humble Confidence podcast, which I have appropriately named “Steal My Show”.  Unfortunately, I have yet to get through to him or the folks at Forefront Records, so hopefully a bit of new media will do the trick.

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How to Be a Good Steward of What You Have

I Learned the Hard Way: Good Stewardship is More than Saving

Wealth seems to be a sensitive topic. Some people don’t mind parading around the wealth they’ve created.

I would argue that the main problem with wealth in America is that people parade around a perception of wealth that they do not have.  We live in a society that wants to keep up with the Joneses. At the same time, it’s a taboo topic.  One that’s hard to address.

People pursue wealth for various reasons but few desire to talk about their philosophy of wealth.  Some to hoard and become wealthy. Some to spoil themselves with the conveniences of the world.  Still others seek to use it for greater good.  They long to give it away – perhaps for recognition; perhaps as a authentic gift.

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Sometimes Showing Up and Being Present Is Enough

Sometimes Showing Up and Being Present Is Enough

He woke up at the crack of dawn.  It was his birthday, but he was the one who would throw the surprise.  Walking out to the car, he took a deep breath and sighed.  The road before him was long and the day would be both stressful and tiring, but this was worth it.  It was for his son.

After several hours in the car, he arrived.  He whispered a prayer that this would go well and walked into the room, head held high.

The room wasn’t an ordinary room.  It was a court room. This morning his son was being arraigned for crimes he had committed the weekend before.  A party animal gone too far.  A night of “fun” that got out of control.

Someone was hurt, and his son was being held responsible.

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Leaders Are Readers: 4 Reasons to Start Today

Leaders Are Readers: 4 Reasons to Start Today

[guestpost]Today I’m excited to share some thoughts with you from Chris Mullen. He’s in his fifth year Higher Education Student Affairs Leadership Ph.D. program at Colorado State University, where he also serves as Assistant Director of Recruitment and Selection in the Office of Equal Opportunity. He’s focused on personal and professional development, leadership, and wellness. Today, he’s going to share some of his passion for reading (which I share) with us. You can find more from Chris at his blog.[/guestpost]

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” - Harry S. Truman

I don’t know about you but I find a lot of truth in this quote. I have found I am more engaged in life, work, and other ventures when I am in the midst of reading a book. What about you?

When I go any length of time without reading a book, I tend to feel like I am going through the motions each day. When I am reading, I have something to look forward to, something to discuss with others, and stuff to think about. It fills my need for learning.

Do you have a reason for reading? Why should you start or continue reading?

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5 Methods for Optimizing Your Boardroom

When I first started building my board of directors, I still owned 100% of the company. Many people were surprised that I was willing to subject myself to the headache of having to answer to outside directors.

When I raised my first capital, I heard horror story after horror story about boards gone awry.  If you ask ten CEOs about their boardroom experience, it seems that at least seven of them have a story about how horrible the experience was or is.

I’ve been lucky to have the opposite experience. I consider my board high performing. It is an accelerator for my business.

Here are five tips that I’ve learned through the School of Hard Knocks that will help you have the same fortune.  Trust me: it’s much better to be one of the three CEOs who doesn’t have the boardroom horror story to share.

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True A-Players Point to Others

True A-Players Point to Others

Pride and ego get in the way of good business all the time. The best leaders and employees typically give credit to others. They are the ones who are continuously pointing out others’ successes. They’re the people touting the accomplishments of their peers and proclaiming the hard work of those around them. They are more than willing to share accolades with others.

These types of individuals are the true all-stars in your organization. They probably have plenty of great successes themselves, but you won’t hear about it from them.

The people who are hungry for attention or accolades are typically the ones who lack self-confidence because they can’t continuously perform at that level.

Your true A-players are more than happy to share the spotlight. For them, it’s about the success of the team, of the whole unit, of the entire company. It’s not about themselves.

They are the individuals you want on your team.

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3 Quick Travel Tips

3 Quick Travel Tips

I travel a lot as the CEO of 3Pillar. Here are three quick travel tips that keep me sane.

1. Use loyalty programs.

It’s not just for the bonus miles and rewards, it’s also for the lounge in the airport and the priority seating. It’s for the hotel room booking and the time it can save me as I pass the line waiting for their rental car and go straight to mine to find the keys already in the ignition.  Loyalty programs are worth it.  And the rewards pay in terms of time savings and productivity, never mind the free flights, stays, and everything else.

2. Don’t check luggage.

This saves me a ton of extra steps: the steps I take to pick up the luggage and the wait and hassle of dealing with that extra luggage. Pack lightly. Take only what’s necessary.

I have 3 suitcases that I use all the time.  Each was worth the nominal investment as it optimizes my packing and travel time. A mini roller-board that fits enough clothes for 1-2 nights and my laptop is perfect for the standard overnight trip. A standard roller-board that fits a small hang-up bag inside is perfect when I will be gone more than two days and need to bring a suit or sports coat other than the one on my back.  Finally, I have a small hang up bag that I use for longer trips that require more than just one or two sets of hanging clothes.  All of these fit in the overhead.

3. Catch up on the plane and work yourself to death in the hotel room.

This is part of how I squeeze every minute out of my trips. If I can’t be home with my family (and I can’t when I’m traveling), I am going to work and maximize the time while I’m away. Yup, I pack as much email, writing, and reading into every plane ride and night in a hotel room as I can. This ensures that when I’m home, I can be present.

What are your best quick travel tips?

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