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Mary Schmidt Business Builder & Renovator


Idea Pool

Want to Kill Innovation? Form a Committee

Mary Schmidt

May 03, 2012

Risk aversionSteve Jobs on collaboration and ideas: “You know how many committees we have at Apple? ZERO!”

Steve Jobs was brilliant.  He groked and rolled in a very unusual combination of technical savvy and design genius. However, he had a lot of help transforming ideas into reality…and then improving on the reality. 

Want to kill innovation? Form a committee.  The agenda games will begin (mine is bigger than yours…)  Then there’s who’ll take minutes. Who’ll order the donuts? Who’ll chair it? Who’ll produce the Powerpoint?  Heavens forbid we actually do something…that might be risky! Etc. etc. .

Want to never solve a problem? Form a task force. Let the finger-pointing and a**-covering begin. 
When I do propose a meeting, I usually put the word, “working” in front of “meeting.”  Because there should be a results focus. Otherwise,  why meet?  Also -  since I have a low boredom threshold and don’t consider patience a virtue - I provide an agenda (or require one) and then keep to the time.   

And, if you’re meeting to plan meetings, then something is really wrong.

“Meetings are a symptom of bad organization. The fewer meetings the better.” — Peter Drucker

Read more: Michele Miller on Three Reasons Your Staff Meetings Suck and How to Fix Them (Great minds think alike…or something like that…:)

(With a HT to Michael Wagner for giving me the blog fodder for today.)

Above image is from the late, lamented Creating Passionate Users blog, which is - luckily for us - still available online.

In Start-Up Sanity Checks, Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves

Mike Wagner says:

Wow…I feel like I just snorted “smelling salts”——refreshing kick in the butt. Thanks Mary!

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Got a great idea? Are people telling you it’s crazy? Good! You’ve got to be a little insane to take that start-up leap – rather it’s out of your garage, the lab or a day job. I'll help you decide where and when to leap (and what to do when you land).

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If one of the self-anointed experts contacts you, pitching magical thinking, ask:

1. What results can I expect if I work with you? (Note: Twitter followers aren't necessarily customers.)

2. What kind of time will I have to invest? (Social media, properly done, is all about personal relationships. You with your customers...and a good relationship takes time.)

3. How do I integrate social media tools with my current operations? (Your salespeople need to know what you're saying on Facebook. Your customer service process and policies should be consistent across the board, from phone to Twitter.)

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