Meetings: the good, the bad, the ugly

Meetings: the good, the bad, the uglyAlthough some meetings are necessary, I’m just not a big fan. They interrupt what you’re doing, and in some cases, it’s hard to get motivated to start a project because you know you’ll soon be stopping it to attend a meeting.

I’m the type of person who likes to get things done. I like seeing results and crossing items off my to-do list each day. What I’m not a huge fan of is discussing how those things are going to get done in an hour-long meeting. Office discussions, touching base, going over projects—all great. Formalizing a meeting for these things results in off-topic conversations and wasted time. For the everyday work life, most meetings are just not needed.

Those are feelings I share with 37signals creator Jason Fried. He talks about this topic regularly and has written about it—among other things—in his book, Rework. It’s a refreshing, modern take on things. Take a look at this interview he did back in 2009. Very cutting edge.

In another of his famous talks, Fried discusses why creative types need hours of uninterrupted time to get work done. It’s brilliant.

Yes, some meetings are needed to close a deal, grow a business, or communicate with customers. But others—the ones where your creativity is halted, time is wasted, and productivity suffers—just are not.

How Do You Find the Top Talent? Sometimes It Finds You

Diamonds in the roughWell let me start by saying that I’m not qualified to talk about this subject.

That’s all. (I can never resist a chance to slip in that line from Devil Wears Prada.)

Being qualified never stopped me before so here goes.

I think the reasons we’ve been able to attract some amazing talent here at Simplfiied Solutions LLC are numerous, but I’ve listed a few below.

1) I like to connect with people online. Hopefully people would say I’m a giver both online and off. I like to retweet, promote others, help others make connections, and refer as much business as I can. This led to a resurfaced relationship with an old friend on Twitter. Wayne Cox and I connected via Twitter after knowing each other in a different business years ago. Wayne is instrumental in our WordPress customizations, email marketing efforts, and our video editing. He is truly a jack of many trades. A pastor of a thriving church plant in Elizabethtown, and a coffee business owner to boot. I think Wayne and I have contests as to who can promote the other more. It’s like Dwight and Andy trading favors on the Office.

2) I am constantly looking for talent and gravitate toward it. The first time I was referred to Josh Starr with Solid Giant Web Design—by my buddy and Louisville HVAC contractor, Rob Benefiel—I said that guy rocks. Josh and I struck up a relationship and partnered on at least five projects last year. When both our lives and businesses settle down, I’m hopeful we’ll do some more work together. I could say the same thing about Louisville photographer Robert Burge. Bobby knows his trade so well. He has done work for large commercial customers like Jewish Hospital, Churchill Downs, and even UK Athletics. He also does wedding photography, shoots for top realtors, and helps us out with pictures for our website content. When Bobby is on the scene he naturally makes people laugh, relax, get serious, or whatever the situation calls for. He directs traffic and keeps everyone on task. He and I are kindred spirits, and we do a decent amount of work together. It’s growing as we speak.

3) I’m not the most humble person, but humility is always on my radar. I like to make fun of myself, and I don’t take “me” too serious. Heck, I refer to myself as a hack. I also hope that I listen and learn from those wiser and more experienced than me. The best example I can think of is how I came to know Jessie Devine, our star copywriter and inbound marketing specialist. Jessie came on board about six weeks ago as our first employee (team member). Jessie and I connected via Twitter and LinkedIn. She had the courage and boldness to point out that I was advertising that we offered “copyrighting services” on our main website. This is an instance where you could actually say, “Bryce, you can’t even spell copywriting.” Yes, folks, I was using the wrong version of the word on my website. Jessie offered up some constructive criticism along with a few compliments. I could have gotten mad, but instead I thanked her for caring enough to tell me. That day I remember thinking, I’d like to hire that gal. Well, we were able to. She is my sounding board on a daily basis. She’s extremely talented at her trade, and she is a straight shooter. What a great addition. I’m careful about the culture we’re building, and I’ve got a great benchmark to build upon.

4) I lean on experts. Proverbs 15:22 says plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Sure I have a CPA. Yes, my customers are good mentors many times. However, I’m talking about a very close business adviser that I won’t mention yet. He keeps me grounded and guides me along. I cherish our phone conversations, coffee talks, lunches, and Gtalk chats. It’s a major component of what I was missing the first few years. One of my other mentors that I’ve never met is Peter J Daniels. He says good morals is good economics. So God will always have a place in our business. It’s all his anyway. He’s just letting me drive the ship.

So how are you finding the top talent?

Skip the craigslist ads and value humans. Develop relationships. Give. Be humble, or at least try.