“Problems can become opportunities when the right people come together.”
Robert Redford

I experienced this in action recently. I attended my first planning retreat for a business networking group that I joined last year. As with most networking groups there are lots of strong personalities, after all we are mostly entrepreneurs who have worked hard to build our businesses. I looked at the agenda and the people in attendance and thought “this should be interesting…”

It was – but in a much more positive and productive way than I would have expected from the diverse group of participants. The club has its challenges. And when there are challenges everyone has a solution  I was surprised and impressed by how the fellow who chaired the meeting drew out all the ideas and suggestions from everyone present - and then moderated the discussion and brought us to consensus. As in the quote above, the ‘right people’ (people who cared enough about the group to give up a Saturday to attend the retreat) came together and got a LOT done. Where there is a will – there is a way. I saw it in action at this meeting and it confirmed for me that I had joined the ‘right’ group.

What exactly did the facilitator do? Hard to pinpoint. Some of my observations:
1.He gave everyone the opportunity to speak, with no preference to the senior club members and officers vs the newbies.
2.He found the positive in every comment.
3.He was able to “hear” some underlying concerns that were inferred rather than spoken – and draw that person out so that the concern could be aired in a positive way.
4.He reiterated what each of us said to be sure he heard us correctly.
5.He asked pointed and thoughtful questions.
6.He let us all talk at once occasionally – when there was a burst of comments. He then regained order and gave us each a chance to share our “brainstorm”.

Bottom line – he was thoughtful and honored each of us. Great role model for business and life!

Author's Bio: 

Heidi McCarthy has been customer focused her whole life, getting a good orientation in her first job working as waitress while putting herself through college. After college she worked in the corporate arena for 8 years where she learned the ins and outs of working in a corporate culture including customer service working with and traveling to clients across North America. Next she worked with her husband in his salvage diving business where dealing with the “rich and famous” taught her much about people’s expectations. Running a consulting business she started working with Custom Training Institute. The consulting soon became a full time job, where she became the General Manager and Director of Operations. This job showed Heidi the immense need for what has become her specialty niche – customer service in the electronic universe.

Additionally, Heidi has the ability of being able to see holes in systems that on the surface look to be good and solid. And, she loves to teach – to share what she has learned .

Heidi’s passion for excellence in business caused her to found Toughest Customer, where today she helps companies grow and retain customers through improved customer service and extreme client care.