October 2, 2014

Dear CEO: Thank You for This Meeting

Dear CEO,

This may surprise you. But, we wanted to thank you for our meeting yesterday.

We know you’re busy in any economy. And, now in this economy we know your schedule is intense.

That’s why we appreciated you taking the time to meet with us.

We also wanted to recognize specific ways you made this meeting with us more enjoyable, more productive, and even more inspiring.

  • We were prepared. We had received the meetings agenda before the meeting. You took the time to prepare it and send it to us so that we had the time to review and discuss and prepare our thoughts, questions, areas we wanted to pay attention to.
  • You greeted us. You smiled and greeted each of us as we came into the conference room. I know that added 10-15 more minutes to your schedule. But, it showed how important this meeting was and how important each of us were to you and the company.  Thank you.
  • You started on time. You respected our time with a prompt start to the meeting. That helped with the focus and it sets the tone for other meetings, also.
  • Trusted us to be adults. This was refreshing. You trusted us to react, respond, as adults. You shared confidential information, you brought us into the conversation and asked for our suggestions. Thank you. You may have noticed the excitement as we left. You’ve stirred lots of ideas and renewed energy. That turned our challenge into an exciting opportunity for us to be even stronger.
  • Your measured responses. There was some anger and frustration shared during the meeting. And your patience and listening and acceptance showed your respect for them, compassion for them and now’s the time to move forward. You diffused it.
  • You ended the meeting on time.  Thank you.
  • Created a wiki to continue the conversation. There were so many good ideas shared. And so many more will come up before the next meeting. And some problems will emerge. And we can capture them all, continue the thinking process, with everyone at any and all times now with the wiki you set up for us to join.

Thank you.

Before the meeting there was maybe doubts and fears. People were withdrawing. And now, there’s excitement, energy, a little fear, still. But that fear is minimal now; it’s more like the tingling you have on your first bungee cord jump or skydive. And, we’re turning back to being enthusiastic, hopeful, motivated.

Best regards,

All of us, including you now.

QUESTIONS for READERS:

  • What would you do to inspire this sentiment?
  • What would it do for your company if you did?
  • What would it do for those in your company, your community, your partners and vendors, your customers?
  • Would it be worth it?

* * * * *

About the author: Zane Safrit’s passion is small business and the operations excellence required to deliver a product that creates word-of-mouth, customer referrals and instills pride in those whose passion created it. He previously served as CEO of a small business. Zane’s blog can be found at Zane Safrit.

10 Comments ▼

Zane Safrit


Zane Safrit Zane Safrit's My passion is small business and the operations' excellence required to deliver a product that creates word-of-mouth, customer referrals and instills pride in those whose passion created it. Zane's blog is Zane Safrit.

10 Reactions

  1. Zane,

    You have outlined a perfect meeting! How often have you attended this kind of meeting?

  2. Every CEO or seniors would love to read such kind of compliments and may be take those points because of which you guys were more happy.

  3. Hi Zane,

    Trusted us to be adults. This was refreshing. You trusted us to react, respond, as adults. You shared confidential information, you brought us into the conversation and asked for our suggestions. Thank you. You may have noticed the excitement as we left. You’ve stirred lots of ideas and renewed energy. That turned our challenge into an exciting opportunity for us to be even stronger.

    I’d love to be able to do /display this behavior all the time. But I have learned the hard way that I have to be cautious, and pick and choose who to trust.

    I’ve had so many so-called partnership discussions, sadly some of them with “reputable” organizations, that turned out to be nothing but fishing trips. At some point the talks would abruptly be discontinued and it became clear the other side just wanted to pick my brain for free consulting and steal my ideas.

    — Anita

  4. Zane,
    I had to slap myself silly, when I first read ityour “letter.”

    I don’t remember the last time I heard anything remotely like that during or after a business meeting. And a Wiki. Wow! What a great idea. And to think, this “company” was already engaged enough in Web 2.0 to be using one! It didn’t even have to be suggested.

    What if some forward thinking companies made adding a Wiki at the end of a meeting part of their sales procedures?

    There’s enough food for thought in your post to keep me hungry for awhile….

    The Franchise King
    Joel Libava

  5. Martin,

    I’ve never attended, nor organized and executed, a meeting like this exactly. A few times we came close, but the meeting was so enjoyable and productive, we went past the time limit…
    And no one’s ever batted 1.000, either. Despite both, we keep pushing towards that goal. The closer we get…the more productive we are, the more wins our team gets.

    Anita,

    Thanks for sharing that. The bittersweet truth of social media and openness and bringing maturity in any setting is…what you describe. Those we choose to honor maybe aren’t ready to receive much less reciprocate. I know I’ve failed a few times myself along the way that I know of.

    That’s the bitter. But do you find that the sweet comes from discovering them sooner, with fewer losses, and finding deserving audiences, faster?

    Joel, excellent! It’s a headache, no doubt. But, it’s so productive in many ways, and many more “sweet than bitter.”

  6. Zane, I love this post. I particularly learned from “Trusted us to be adults.” point.

    In p2w2, we do a Pizza over Podcast. We have a pizza and listen to a motivating interview/lecture – something that’s relevant to us. That helps us a) have a lot of fun b) discuss topics relevant to us and c) create a context around which I can disclose a lot of information to my colleagues that otherwise I miss out.

    Thanks once again. I enjoyed reading the post.

  7. Chaitanya, that’s a great idea. It gives a nice excuse to take some time to gather together and learn. I assume that afterwards you have a quick discussion about it. Sounds like a good Friday afternoon treat to me.

  8. I don’t comment on blogs too often, but I like this post and theme – just wanted you to know that!     
    Thanks! 
    Thank You Note Wording

  9. Dear Zane,

    I though, thought of writing note of thanks to my CEO after every meeting, I didn’t for various silly reasons such as fear that I will be misunderstood, too busy to do so and kept on postponning .

    Similarly, when I conducted meeting for my team, I did not take care of some of the aspects you have mentioned e.g. ending on time…

    Thanks.

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