Leadership Prequel

Yesterday I had my first staff meeting for my new job at Great Lakes Coffee. It was at 7pm on a Sunday, which seems weird until you realize that the cafe is open basically 7am-11pm every other day of the week. Sunday evening meetings, as weird as it seems, is really the only way to get all of us into a room together.

So last night I rolled up to the cafe at 6:45 - enough time to get all settled in before the meeting started.

I walked in, grabbed a seat, started looking around the cafe, checking the place out.

7:01 rolls around, the meeting doesn't start.


Bad news bears.

It's 7:01, and I already know that I'm not getting home until 9:30.

In my experience, meetings that don't start on time don't have clear agendas and meetings without clear agendas don't end on time. How could they? Without a clear agenda, how do you know when the meeting is over?

Meetings without agendas slog on until everyone at the table is so exhausted and frustrated that the leadership finally, and arbitrarily, declares the meeting complete.

That's how it went last night. As we crept up on 9pm, the whole room became aware: we've been here for 2 hours. And somewhere around then, we were released.

I wrote about my excitement around working for Great Lakes last week, and those statement still hold true.

I'm excited to be a part of Great Lakes.

I'm excited to play a supporting role in this organization, to join up with a company that's really good at what they do.

I also want to be a contribution, and part of what I have to contribute is a lot of practice and expertise on running efficient meetings.

So the question is: "Do I want to take accountability for the way we run staff meetings?".



That's a tough question to answer day one.

Saying yes makes me feel like an arrogant prick.

Saying no makes me feel lazy.


The full answer, I think, is "not yet".


First, I'm going to earn the respect of my co-workers.

I'm going to sweep under every table, wipe down every counter, clean the filters and unclog the drain. I'm going to wash the dishes extra well, extra often and smile at guests. I'm going to bust my ass and support my co workers.  I'm going to be part of the team.

Then, someday soon, when I've earned it, when I'm part of the team, then - I'll pick my head up.

I'll pick my head up, look around, and start taking on leadership.


Right now, though, my list is short and simple.

Work hard. Be reliable. Earn respect.