Moments of Impact

My ex-employee, Michael (#2), stopped in my office last week to talk. He was stopping in before he went to his old office to co-work with my new employee, Michael (#3), for a few hours or so. I guess you’ve got something good going when your old employees come back to work with your new employees and even stop in to chat. He told me about a book he read recently, “Moments of Impact.” About a year ago, he had shared with me “Creativity, Inc. ” by Ed Catmull, and I immediately knew — any book Michael suggests is worth reading.

So, Michael (#2) was in my office (AGAIN) today (he won’t go away!) and a package arrived for me. Our coworker, Anna, knocked on my door to deliver a package. Michael said, “Oh, thank you…that’s for me.” I told him, “Yes it is. Go ahead and open it.” He opened the package and it was my copy of the book. The stars must have aligned. He was happy I had a copy of it. Claimed he should get some royalties. He probably should. His book recommendations are spot on.

The reason I think this book is important is that it may help me speak better, handle myself better, be more confident in what I do daily in meetings. I find that recapping chapters via blog helps me learn and retain the information better. In the process, maybe you will find something piques your interest, inspires you, or leads us to have some sort of conversation. I’m game.

So — here are the highlights from the first chapter:

Introduction: The Most Important Skill They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School (or anywhere else)

The introduction started out with a scenario of someone having to host a really critical meeting, but not knowing what they are doing. Questions to consider are:

  • What is the purpose of the meeting?
  • What are the desired outcomes?
  • What do the experts agree on?
  • What do the expert disagree on?
  • How do you frame the issues for everyone?
  • What kind of environment are you creating to facilitate the meeting?
  • What will be the overall experience?

The authors state that, “Designing strategic conversations is a craft.”

The goal of the book, as stated by the authors:

“We want to eradicate as many time-sucking, energy-depleting strategy meetings as possible — and replace them with inspiring and productive conversations.”

Do I hear an “AMEN!!!”?

There were two passages that really stuck with me that I will share here:

“It’s nearly impossible to solve adaptive challenges alone. They require observations and insights from a wide range of people who see the world and your organization’s problems differently. And they require combining these divergent perspectives in a way that creates new ideas and possibilities that no individual would think up on his or her own.” (p. 10)

“If strategy was like a high-stakes chess game a few decades ago, it’s more like hockey today — fast, risky, and hard to follow.” (p. 12)

Change is coming and it’s coming fast; unfortunately, we have too many people who work in their own corners, without reaching out to others. This needs to stop.

A final quote from the chapter:

“Today, more than ever, strategy IS the conversation.”

Do share if you have read the book or have any thoughts. Here’s to more impactful conversations!

Ertel, C., & Solomon, L. (2014). Moments of impact: How to design strategic conversations that accelerate change (1st ed.). Simon & Schuster.

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