What I'm Reading: The Advantage

The breakdown of most unsuccessful organizations is communication. Good communication can make a good organization into a great one. A health organization is one that is conducive to good, effective communication, but this has to be nurtured, much like a plant. 

The Advantage is a great book for any entrepreneur who wants to learn how to run an effective organization. I would recommend this for any entrepreneur at any stage development, but especially for those who want to build a vibrant and healthy organization that people want to work on every day. In it, the author, a business consultant specializing in corporate culture, discusses how healthy organizations function and what drives them. I've taken these learnings and turned them into a how-to for effective organizations. 

How to Communicate

  • STEP 1: DISAGREEMENT
    • Strive for disagreement in meetings. Disagreement is healthy. It means that people are voicing their true opinions.
  • STEP 2: DEBATE
    • ncourage lively debate. Make sure everyone feels that they can truly express themselves and work through issues together. This is the concept of the ancient Greek agora.
  • STEP 3: CONSENT
    • s a leader, your role is to get direct consent for each individual at the end of big decisions. Literally go around the table and ask each person, "Do you consent to this decision and will you fully support its implimentation?" This ensures that everyone is clear and on the same page. 
  • TEP 4: COMMUNICATE
    • fter big decisions are made by leadership, it's the responsibility of the leadership team to quickly and directly communicate these changes to their teams by means of an in-person all-staff meeting. This should happen within 24 hours. An invitation should also be extended to anyone who is confused or who wants to discuss the decision to approach the supervisor at and time.

Another helpful thing I learned was that there are different types of meetings for different purposes. This helps everyone save time, and increases effective communication.

Types of Meetings

  • TYPE 1: The daily check-in
    • his should take no more than 5 minutes, be done in person, and be done standing. It's a chance for everyone to get face time, work through small technical detail questions, and get on the same page for what everyone's working on that day.
    • THE POINT: To build commeraderie.
  • TYPE 2: The weekly project management meeting
    • his should be done via color-coding red-yellow-green by project and should take no more than an hour.
    • THE POINT: To get on the same page and establish priorities.
  • TYPE 3: The topical strategic meeting
    • hese are called on an as-needed basis and last from 3-4 hours. 
    • THE POINT: To work through strategic problems.
  • TYPE 4: The quarterly off-site
    • his is the company retreat.
    • THE POINT: To take a step back and plan for the future.