Newsletter Header
February 2012
Ann Latham
Uncommon Meetings - 7 Quick Tips for Better Results in Half the Time
Uncommon Meetings 

by Ann Latham

Available in print, Kindle, and Nook

Now $1.71 at Amazon!!!
This can't last!
Order copies for your whole team!
Clear Thoughts - Pragmatic Gems of Better Business Thinking
Clear Thoughts by Ann Latham by Ann Latham
Available in print, Kindle, and Nook
Meeting Mastery - How to Slash Meeting Times in Half and Get Better Results
Meeting Mastery
by Ann Latham
CD or MP3
Order Now!
More Clarity

Published Articles

Previous Newsletters

100+ Helpful Articles

Ann's Blog

Questions? Comments?

Stay In Touch
Join Our Mailing List

Find us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

View our profile on LinkedIn


Many of my readers tell me this is one of the very few newsletters they read regularly. Is that true of you? If so, please don't keep it a secret! Do your friends and business contacts a favor by forwarding a copy. They will thank you and so will I!
Today's Clear Thoughts
Take the Clarity Quiz - a la Sesame Street
Don't Decide and Act
One Down, Eleven to Go
What Others Say
Ann's Parting Thoughts - It's Courage that Counts
Take the Clarity Quiz - a la Sesame Street!


Which of these is not like the others?

  1. Annual performance reviews are too heavily influenced by the preceding couple of months.
  2. It takes a lot to overcome a negative first impression.
  3. The risks we consider most seriously reflect the factors and situations that burned us last.
  4. Our optimism about the economy increases when the stock market strings together a few good days.
  5. I always watch for bobcats out the same window.

Make your selection and then click here for the answer.


Don't Decide and Act

In a recent conversation with one of my clients, he revealed that a significant percentage of his customers were taking up lots of his time because they distrusted the new billing system he had just installed. This caught him totally by surprise because he had carefully weighed the benefits and risks before making the decision. He knew that both he and his customers would benefit from the change. 


Does this mean he made a bad decision? Did he neglect the risks? 


No and no. His decision was sound. His mistake was in not separating the decision to make the change from the decision about how to make the change. Had he examined the transition with the same care as the original decision before leaping into action, he would have been better prepared to see the changes through his customers' eyes, anticipate problems, and address concerns. 


You could argue that Netflix made the same mistake last year. Their decision to pin their future on streaming content was sound. It was the transition they bungled. And it cost them a million customers. 


Once we make a decision, we are usually eager to act. Too often our plans proceed almost as fast as we lay them down. Too often we forget the simple question, "What could go wrong during the transition?" What about our customers, employees, and suppliers? Our members, shareholders, and volunteers? How are they going to react? When and how will the changes affect them? Where will we create burden or worry?


To avoid this problem, separate the two decisions - the what from the how, the desired change from how to change - and be sure to examine the risks as part of both decision processes.  


On the flip side, some people leap so quickly to what could go wrong during any transition that they are never able to make significant changes, never willing to consider a new destination. 


In this case, the solution is the same. Separate the two decisions - the destination from the route - and be sure to examine the risks as part of both decision processes. If you are clear about your destination and believe in the benefits, you can almost always find an effective way to get there. 


Facing some tough transitions? Unsure how to carve out a new future for your business? Let's talk. 800-527-0087 and

One Down, Eleven to Go

The bad news? One twelfth of the year is gone already.


The good news? You're not alone, you've got eleven more months to achieve your goals, and I've got some tips to help you out:

  1. Are your goals specific and measurable? In other words, do you know what success will look and feel like? Do you know how you will know when you are done? If not, develop a clear picture of success ASAP.
  2. Are your goals broken down into manageable parts so you can start feeling some success soon? Try writing a series of statements something like this:

    "I'll  {feel good}   when I've achieved   {this tangible outcome}    by   {this date} ."

    (Work backwards to set the dates.) If those intermediate tangible outcomes add up to success, you've got a great plan and the ability to see and celebrate your progress.
  3. Have you taken a good, hard, honest look at the obstacles you face? What will make achieving your goal hard for you?
  4. Have you identified specific ways to overcome those obstacles? Do you need data, information, expertise, a method, help from others, someone to hold you accountable, or "just" a dose of courage? Be sure your series of intermediate tangible outcomes includes the steps necessary to overcome the obstacles.
  5. Are you clear about the benefits of achieving your goals? If the goals aren't motivating and the effort isn't fun, do you know how you will reward yourself when each intermediate outcome is nailed?

Don't wait until we're two down, ten to go! Act now. Get help if you're stuck. The longer you wait, the bigger the miracle required to get back on track.


Need some help? Call me at 800-527-0087.
Published Clarity

The SAC Release® quotes Ann in "When to Turn to External Resources," January 2012

Ann's article, "The Secret to Great Meetings that Every Employee Should Know," appears in the British magazine, The Executive Secretary, January 2012

Forbes in Photos features Ann in "10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Taking that Promotion," October 2011

Business News Daily quotes Ann in "Cash-only Businesses Risk Alienating Customers," January 2012

Ann's advice is featured in The Woman's Advantage 2012 Calendar


What Others Say

"What I like about working with Ann is how she keeps a group strategically focused while making the process engaging, easy, and humorous. She uncovers common ground, creates opportunity, and guides the group to new shared conclusions in remarkably little time."


Laurie Fenlason
Vice President for Public Affairs
Smith College

"Uncommon Meetings" Attracts Attention

"Ann Latham's Uncommon Meetings is a road map to well run meetings. It is a good read for busy people. While serving as a refresher for all of us who labor through less effective meetings, the highlights in boxes and bullet points emphasize insightful aids to more meaningful meetings and desired outcomes."


Dianne Fuller Doherty, Regional Director, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network


"Uncommon Meetings is a quick read with simple, easy to implement, ways to make meetings shorter and more effective. You will get more time back and you and your co-workers will be more productive."


W. Lowell Putnam, Trust Administrator, Lowell Observatory


"Uncommon Meetings is a must read for everyone in any organization, not just top management."


Al Kasper, President & COO, Savage Sports Corporation


"To achieve your desired outcomes in less time and with fewer people, read this book! It has great tips and memorable examples for improving meetings and is concise and clear as well. All and all, a huge value for anyone who spends a lot of time in meetings as I do."


Simon Lingard, Director of R&D, Aspen Technology, Inc.


"I wish everyone read this book. Ann Latham's "Uncommon Meetings" is a quick read, packed with substantive ideas on how to get more out of meetings in less time. Everyone who runs meetings should read it!"


Janet Warren, President, MarCom Capital


In addition, the CEO Refresher has placed Uncommon Meetings at the top of its recommended reading list. 

Uncommon Meetings - 7 Quick Tips for Better Results in Half the Time - ON SALE NOW at Amazon for an UNBELIEVABLE $1.71!! This can't last! Now is your chance to get copies for everyone who runs meetings.


For a Daily Dose of Clarity

For a daily dose of clarity:

Like us on Facebook 'Like' us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter! Follow us on Twitter


Parting Thoughts - It's Courage that Counts

"Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It's courage that counts."


Winston Churchill


So walk the plank, stick your nose out there, and take a few risks!

Best regards,

signature no background
Ann Latham

* Creating the Clarity that produces Better Results Faster *

© 2012 Ann Latham. All rights reserved.