Each morning I write in my gratitude journal. I do this because it systematically elevates me. I am a natural introvert but I recognize the need to give energy to others. When I write a meaningful entry in my journal I turn more positive and I have more energy to share.
One morning after writing, for example, I drove to the University. I was consciously committed to sharing my energy with others. As I walked by strangers who would have ignored me, I greeted them with enthusiasm. They looked at me, and they lit up. As I walked from my office to a meeting, the phenomenon continued. I greeted each student with positive emotion, and each responded.
In the meeting, I joyfully greeted each person and they also lit up. Then something shifted. A half-hour into this typical two-hour information exchange, my positivity was gone. When I was full of positivity, I focused on my connections with others, even strangers. Now I was feeling self-interested. My joy was gone. My smile was gone. My impact was downgraded. I was moving towards my more normal introversion.
As I realized this, I began to make notes about the inability of brilliant people to create mechanisms of relational engagement. Why do meetings become boring? Is it a requirement? How might a positive leader redesign the meeting I was in? I began to jot down ideas. On the top of my list was the key, a question of higher purpose. “How could we accomplish the original goals of the meeting with maximum engagement?”
This question automatically discomforts us. It requires us to entertain a higher standard. An elevated purpose requires us to do something we normally do not do, focus on excellence and conceptualize non-conventional behaviors.
The question leads me to make a suggestion. The next time you are in charge of a meeting, go ahead and design it as you normally would. Then add an objective: Every minute, every participant must be fully engaged. This will require that you think differently. It may well frustrate you at first. But stay with it. You may create a meeting that exceeds everyone’s expectations and produces better outcomes than you could have imagined. If you have some success with this, imagine how else you could apply the same principle.
What was the best meeting you ever attended?
How could you design a better meeting?
How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?