Tag Archives: streamlining

How To Conduct An Effective Meeting?

I don´t like meetings.

They go overtime, everyone is late, and no one is listening but instead just playing with their smartphone. Every agency has certain amount of personnel, whose sole purpose is to book pointless status update meetings. Usually they are the people who don´t have to do the actual worh. These meetings are just a way to secure their ass and tick some imaginary milestone on calendar.

My work is to think and present that thinking, not to sit in pointless meetings going same things over and over again. Unfortunately the more people you have with opinion in the meeting room, the less effective your marketing will be. The same applies to all the revision rounds.

Advertising seldom is a democracy. It is war of the ideas, where every opinion is not equal. You have to fight for the ideas, until you win or lose.

There is a need for meetings and good ideas can come from anywhere. The problem comes when you try to fix all the issues in one single meeting. There are times when you have to make decisions and when you have to come up with ideas. To try to do both things at the same time is lunacy.

So what you need to do is to only have two different types of meetings (and never ever confuse these two):

  1. Getting sh*t done -meetings (15-30 minutes)

This is project management with tight leash: tight agenda, tight timeline and total army discipline. Deciding on stuff on max. 30 minutes, preferably less. Clear leader for the meeting and limited opportunity to voice your concerns. The goal of this meeting is to make sure that the project is on timeline, right track and all the practicalities are taking cared. No joking around, you can really feel the pressure on this meeting. If someone starts brainstorming throw him with an apple, pen or whatever comes handy in the meeting room. If he continues, use more severe methods. Time is ticking, so shut up.

  1. Getting sh*t figured out –meetings (2-4 hours)

Call it brainstorming, kicking around the idea or ideating. This can take the whole day and it does not have to happen in boring meeting room. Get somewhere else to let the creative juices flow. Talk about it over lunch or over a drink. In these meetings every opinion has a value and the timeline is more relaxed. You still have a goal for the meeting, but it builds up gradually.

If you follow this construct when doing meetings, you will be much happier and more effective person in workplace.

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Cut The Bullsh*t: What Cutting Your Hair in Subway Station Can Teach You on Innovation?

Besides my grocery shopping habits I have changed my haircutting habits as well. Before I used to spend quite a lot time and money to fancy barbers, but as the time is tighter in fast-paced Singapore, I have found my new favorite business venture QB House. They are fast barbershop located in MRT stations and offering just cut really fast and really cheap.
Today while taking my haircut, I started to think what all the other categories could learn from their approach:
1. Concentrate on essentials
Especially for the guys you seldom need washing the hair or coloring services. You just need the quick cut. Many times the route for drastic category reinvention is to start taking things away. Crossfit is great example of this in sports category (having higher margins though as well). Think about budget airlines. Do we really need airline food? For many of us, the answer is resounding no.
2. Make it faster in slow category
I used to spend altogether almost two hours to my visit in Barbershop. Reserving it was a pain in the ass and it took weeks of time. Now I just pop to QB House on my lunch break and does not even think about it. What if you could get your glasses in a hour? Or your car in one day?
3. Give bold promise
“10 minutes just cut” is the tagline for QB House.  I have actually timed the experience in QB House and many times it goes a little bit over it. I don´t really care about that. The bold promise gives indication that it is fast and something you can do within time restraints of your lunch hour or when you are waiting for subway. What bold promise you could give in your category? We give you credit card in an hour? We give you a loan in an hour?
4. Be cheap
Until last year the QB House promise was even more compelling from price-perspective: 10 minutes and 10 Singaporean dollars. Now the inflation has taken its toll, but price is still reasonable: 12 Singaporean dollars (7 €/9.5$). Price is totally connected with cutting all the unnecessary bits away. What is the core of your business and what are just the add-ons?
5. Be consistent
Instead of being loyal to specific barber or even specific location. QB House is located in MRT stations and strategic mall locations, which means that I can actually visit barber no matter where I have to go. The process is so fast that I can accidentally pop by. Before having the haircut defined my whole day routine. QB House is the McDonald´s of barbershops. You always know what to get. Again consistency and strict processes contribute to two things: effectiveness and familiarity. Effectiveness makes business sense for company and familiarity makes the consumer to come back. Although I never get the comb they offer me, it is still a nice gesture. And actually because the barbers cut so many people, the quality is actually really consistent as well. But to be honest I would not try to get new hairstyle from QB House. I don´t think they would want that either. Stick to the essentials and be consistent.
Actually I go more often to barbershop nowadays as well (every three weeks, might also be that I am rocking the undercut), so the new way of doing things has actually altered my behavior as well. The yearly customer value adds up though and I bring over 200 dollars for QB House yearly. You do not even think about it, because the single transaction is so low.
If your category has done things certain way for a long time, it is good indication that you could do it differently. How could you be faster, cheaper and more revolutionary on your category?

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