On my flight from Dallas to Austin today, I was struck by an ad in USA Today on page 7A that reads:
- “Want to lose one million more jobs? Just keep talking.”
The ad is by the U.S. Travel Association and promotes the website Meetings Mean Business.
This ad really resonates with me. Business is best achieved by in-person conversations, not email, not web meetings, and definitely not Second Life. I preach this at our company often as our CEO. In the age of BlackBerrys, iPhones, and Android, you have to struggle to remember that relationships are fostered in-person. Most communication should occur that way, especially within a company. Email is best for mass-distribution messages or very quick yes/no responses. I would use IM over email any day of the week for a real-time conversation. Even Facebook messenger is better than email, for the simple reason of having my face and the recipient’s face IN the message, making it more personal. The problem with many executive teams and CEOs is a lack of humility, and it is simply harder to be a jerk in person. Email masks many cultural problems.
I remember watching Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan, on CNBC while he was at the World Economic Forum in Davos. I remember him ranting about his fellow CEOs of financial services companies not being there. Being “in the bunker” instead. Not doing their part to get their companies back on track, with the impact their CEOs could have at such an important event. I couldn’t agree with him more. Don’t be in the bunker. Business gets done in person. As Andy Grove wrote in one of my favorites, High-Output Management, meetings are the medium of management.
I understand how tough the economy is, but those that didn’t show at Shop.org’s Strategy & Innovation Forum, where attendance was way down as compared to last year’s event, really missed out. We had our best content ever (I serve on the Board of Directors and was very proud of how educational the content was this year). At least you can read the blog entries.
I hope to see you at our Summit this April in Austin. It is our single best training event of the year. You will make far more impact in your company as a result of attending it, and the little money you spend on travel to attend will be an afterthought as a result. Executives last year told me that it was the most actionable conference they attended all year.
And here’s Jamie Dimon on the economy. I think he’s the real deal, and I’m listening to his interviews carefully: