Staying present – a leadership distinction

I love the New York Times’ Corner Office interviews published each Sunday morning. This past Sunday’s interview with Dan Rosensweig, president and chief executive of Chegg, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant. Chegg rents textbooks online and by mail. Dan speaks to a lesson he has learned, and a practice I would love to see implemented with many of my clients:

“Probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned over the past couple of years is to be present, because it’s so easy to get distracted in the worlds of BlackBerrys, iPhones, Twitter, Facebook and 500 e-mails a day.  So with our management team, when we’re in a meeting, it starts on time, it ends on time, no technology. It’s just, let’s stay focused, and we have a much more healthy conversation. People really listen and contribute and we move on. It works well in your personal life as well — wherever you are, be all in. Also, one of our rituals that we start every executive staff meeting with is sharing one personal and one professional thing occupying our minds. The goals are for the team to get closer, build trust and to help understand anything that might be distracting us.  I think the way to get employees all in is to listen to them. Every six weeks, I meet with small groups by their function. The rules are, it’s their meeting.They can ask anything, they can communicate anything as long as it’s about how to improve Chegg’s business or our relationship with our customers.”

These are easy practices to try! My challenge to each of us: turn off our blackberry and iPhone when engaging with another person. Listen to the other person 100%. Try the technique of meeting with small groups every month or six weeks – with no agenda – let it be their meeting. I am certain we would all learn  a lot about our businesses, our teams, our clients and ourselves.