Calling An ELMO

So this is an interesting meeting facilitation technique. 


Sometimes people get carried away in meetings either as broken records, spinning wheels, naysayers, or ever with verbal attacks.


In these case, either the facilitator or any of the other participants, can have permission to “call an ELMO.”


What that stands for is:


Enough,

Let’s

Move 

On


When someone at the meeting calls an ELMO the meeting is redirected and focused back to the agenda and meeting objectives.


There are also times, you need a “parking lot” for good ideas that are a little offtrack or for sidebars that you want to come back to later.


At other times, you just need to say, “Let’s take it offline.”


Focused meetings should generate ideas (brainstorm), exchange points of view, surface problems, discuss issues, and make decisions. 


A good meeting leaves people feeling energized, valued, informed, and productive. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Bored Meetings

So it’s been raining so much here in the DC area lately.


The result is that the hot Summer July temperatures are down in the cool 70’s and the rain is flooding everywhere. 


When I got in the elevator this morning, someone goes to me:


“Did you see the leak in the hallway?  They are watering the tree with it.”


And sure enough, there it was!


When all this rain finally stops, there is going to be a lot of cleanup and repairs to do. 


The other thing was yesterday, we were on the way to a board meeting in our synagogue. 


In the elevator, are two other people–a man and women–carrying binders.


They say to us:


“Are you going to the board meeting?”


Surprised, because I didn’t recognize them from our synagogue, I respond affirmatively and ask to clarify:


“Oh, you’re going to the board meeting too?  I don’t recall seeing you there before.”


Then the elevator stops and they start to get off–but it’s to a different board meeting for the building.


When they see that we’re going to a different floor, they start laughing:


“I guess we’re going to different board meetings!”


I say:


“Yeah that’s right, different board meetings, but we’ll all probably be bored!


Another laugh by everyone, and we we’re all off to the races. 😉


(Source Photo:  Andy Blumenthal)

Don’t Worry–Be Happy!

Happy Friday everyone!


Yesterday, someone gave me a couple of these bright yellow smileys–one on the back of each of my hands. 


I was going around waving these happy faces all day.  


Of course, sitting in meetings was a little weird with these on, but then again, maybe that is part of setting a colorful and happy tone. 


It’s funny how a little smile sticker can make the whole world seem right again. 


Maybe we can learn to live life, love life, and make the most of every single day. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Mao Tse Tung – China Leadership Watch

So this was absolutely amazing today. 


We had a meeting and someone brought in a bag of “prizes” as an icebreaker.


Low and behold, one of the items being given away was a Kim Jong-il (father of Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s current leader). 


“Coincidentally,” this just one day after the historic peace summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. 


Why anyone would give a watch like this away is mind-boggling to me. 


I am curious if anyone knows what the inscription on the back is?  


Anyway, I think this watch is an amazing piece of history, especially from the isolated nation of North Korea.


I can only imagine what the history of this timepiece is and how it got here to NIST.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Games People Play

Games.jpeg

The title sounds ominous, but I mean it differently.


People like to play games–the type you have fun at.  


We learn to play when we are kids. 


We get the attention of our parents and friends–and we have fun just being together, acting silly or even competing with each other. 


Whether it’s over a game of Life, Monopoly, Risk, or Connect Four, or even these days going online with a game of Minecraft or Crush.


Sports is another type of game–great to play and others like to watch and cheer for their favorite teams or athletes. 


This week at work, someone said to come to his meeting because:

“…everyone would have fun.”


Have you ever heard that at work–a fun meeting or for that matter anything being fun in an office setting?


The guy is a genius–people actually showed up in droves at the meeting. 


They had to choose between various meetings going on at that time–and low and behold, people chose this one that was going to be fun!


In the meeting, there was a big bowl of candy and chocolate in the center of the conference table.


And the mood was relaxed as we got down to some business. 


While we did the business, people felt free to be a little silly and laugh with each other too.


The tone had been set for some fun.


The person who hosted the meeting explained that he wanted people to have a good time coming to the meeting (and to work).


He called it “gamification.”


The idea is why not make things into a type of game and have some fun with it instead of everything being so stuck up and nasty all the time. 


Listen, it was still a meeting and work had to get done, but it was nice to see a different lighter perspective put on it. 


People want to enjoy what they do–whether it’s time with their family, friends, or why not even their work.


If we can make more things in life into a game of sorts and put “fun” into the equation of what we do–people smile, laugh, and let down their guards a little. 


Why shouldn’t adult play games and have fun too? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Driverless Cars – New Beginning or Part of The End

Jet Pack.JPEG

Driverless cars are exciting to so many.


But doesn’t it also seem so boring?


There is a lot to be said for being the driver and doing the driving. 


We control the destination, trajectory, speed, etc.


Occasionally, there is even time to stop and enjoy the view. 


We’ve given up on doing or even knowing how to do so many basic things.


Probably 90% plus of us would fail at any sort of basic survival test. 


You can’t hunt, you don’t know how anything really works, and you don’t even have a green thumb.


You’d be dead in under a week or max three


The only thing you do know how to do is sit at a desk, push papers, go to meetings, and post endless nonsense on social media–congratulations you’re an imbecile!


When Axis of Evil North Korea, Iran, or Russia decide to hit us with an ICBM, EMP, or a massive cyber attack your gonna wish you knew something (anything) real, let alone how to drive a simple automatic. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Wouldn’t You Like To Be A Govie Too

govie

Some people have a negative perception of government workers (“govies”).  


They think that it’s just a cushy job with a lot of free time and benefits. 


Sort of like the photo above with the lady streched out over her laptop, eyes half shut, and with the lightbulb above her head–thinking up great ideas for running the government and regulating the people. 


Ah, no–it’s not like that at all. 


Okay, maybe a little for some people. 


Having been in both the private and public sectors about 40-60 of my career, I can tell you that there is plenty of unproductiveness (i.e. dead weight) wherever you go. 


But there is also a lot of hardworking (some super hardworking) and really smart people too. 


Yes, there are meetings (lots of them) and paperwork (piled high), but there is also a good amount of out-of-the-box thinking and trying to figure out how to do more with the same or less.  


There is also some really big thinking like how to win the next Big One (i.e. war), how to protect the country from deadly terrorism, disasters, weapons of mass destruction, and cyber attack, how to partner with others around the world to achieve big ambitious projects and peace, how to colonize outer space, protect the environment, and improve the economy, healthcare, education, and so much more. 


Not all the big thinking is good thinking–some of it is unrealistic, biased towards this or that constituency, counterproductive, or even corrupt. 


But many govies really do want to do a great job and save the world!


If you think there isn’t plenty of hard work, passion, dedication–you’re wrong.


If you think, everyone is doing the right thing for the right reasons–your delusional.


Like with people all over the world, there’s a mix of good and some not so good, but overall, there is lots of opportunity to lead, problem solve, and do good and great things with real effect, nationally and globally. 


And if for that alone, being a govie is an amazing career move where you can have an influence on matters of tremendous importance and lasting impact. 


Wild perceptions and pictures can be deceiving–instead think about the hero that you can and want to be. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)