Saturday, 22 of October of 2016

MindLab: Hold a quarterly “surprise me” meeting

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I have a friend who regularly (about once per quarter) holds a team meeting with a single agenda item: Surprise me!

She knows that sooner or later she’s going to be surprised about her business. So she holds these meetings in order to get surprised by her team (and then do something about it) before she gets surprised by her competitors.

The meeting rules are pretty simple. She goes from team member to team member to see if they have something that might surprise her. If they bring up a topic that she’s aware of she simply thanks them and  then goes on to the next person. If someone surprises her (tells her something she doesn’t know about the business) she rewards them with a big bag of M&Ms.

The meeting is good for her — she learns something new — and the meeting is good for her team — they know she values their observations.

All of us have too much to do and, consequently, we often miss changes in the competitive landscape. Take a risk — get surprised by your team. It may be very valuable.

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