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3 Lessons About Meetings from the Forest

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

Layne McDonald, Ph.D.

Here are three lessons about meetings from a walk through the Forest.

1) Giant Sequoias

These majestic trees are a living example that some things take time.

True, we need to work with a sense of urgency. We need to do more with less. We need to move faster than the speed of chaos.


And we also need to be appropriate.

Rushing through some issues can produce false solutions.

For example, a group slams together an annual plan, only to find that the plan ignores natural market conditions, organizational limitations, and individual support. The result is a document that no one uses.

For example, an influential group makes decisions without listening to other people’s ideas. And then a bad situation becomes worse. Sometimes, the neglected side retaliates with such force that the original group loses status.

Better: Take time to ensure that all considerations are included in plans and decisions. If you are planning a meeting to resolve significant issues, hire a skilled facilitator to help you obtain a result that lasts.

2) A Bear Cub

This cub behaved like a goofy toddler while the mama bear went about her business collecting groceries in a supermarket. The cub climbed on logs, fell off rocks, and dropped things on mama. And during all of this play, mama bear just kept working, munching plants, gathering nourishment.


That is, she kept eating until the cub ran toward me. Then mama bear looked up, growled, and chased after the cub. (I’ll assume that’s what she did because I ran away when Mama Bear growled.)

What’s the point?

Sometimes we need to allow an appropriate amount of disorder because it’s part of growth. It’s part of letting people explore. It’s part of letting people be themselves. Of course, when threats appear, then we should take charge. And we may only need to growl to restore order.

3) Mustang Clover

In the spring, the Sierra Nevada mountains are covered with patches of Mustang Clover. These tiny flowers (typically less than half an inch across) look like simple small pink dots as you walk past them. But if you pause and look closely, you will discover a masterpiece of intricate beauty.

The point: Are you pausing to notice essential details? Some may be merely comforting reminders of how wonderful life can be. Others may be critical indicators of the health of your business.

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