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Monday, December 11, 2006

Accomplish More By Not Checking Things Off Your Task List

Recently I've been trying to account for why I am seeing such positive results in my work. What I've come up with so far is anything but definitive, but it's my first stab at noting my actions that coorelate with results.

Last week in Sacramento, I went into my meetings with an idea of what I wanted to accomplish and how I felt our two organizations could partner together. Though it wasn't a sales meeting, I was indeed trying to sell the idea of what I wanted. The result was I walked out with a much bigger project than I ever dreamed of.

Today I met with a local credit union and their marketing department on how our two organizations could partner. What resulted wasn't exactly what I planned, but it will definately work to start with and they offered several things I'm excited about, but had never thought of before.

Whether it's a sales call, a negotiation or a brainstorming session, I think the key to walking out with more than you dreamed of is to walk in with an open mind, present yourself as someone who is there to help meet their needs first and think solution from the beginning.

Let me explain. Many times people make the mistake of walking into a meeting with the purpose of checking three things off their task list and moving on to the next task. "Get them to buy this.... CHECK! Get them to sponsor that... CHECK! Schedule a follow up meeting... CHECK!"

Instead, go in with only a roughly outlined agenda in terms of something like "develop a closer relationship with them" or "explain everything I can do to help them and explore ways we can partner". A task driven meeting leaves little room for creativity and inspiration and it's the creativity and inspiration that generates new and unique ways of accomplishing what is truly on your task list.

The proof of this for me is in what happened in my meeting in Sacramento. Instead of walking out with "Partner to provide services in my little two-county area... CHECK!" I walked out with "Partner to provide services in the entire state and create a cooperative agreement that will potentially become a nation wide model... Uhhh - Holy Check!"

So to accomplishing more, avoid the urge to check things off your task list. Task lists are things you should check off at the privacy of your desk and not in the momentum of a meeting.