Learn how to run and execute an effective meeting taught by NBA Hall-of-Famer David Robinson. Take the principles taught in this series and apply them to your life to save yourself from the "death by meeting".Sign Up to Watch
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-My name is Clay Clark. My name is not David Robinson. But today I am joined with David Robinson, the NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson. The two time world champion David Robinson. The two time Olympic gold medal winning David Robinson. The guy who built a successful school David Robinson. The guy who's built a successful investment fund David Robinson. And he's going to be teaching us specifically today about how to execute effective meetings in this small business management training.
We've all found ourselves on the verge of death by meeting. But he's going to teach us specifically how to run an effective meeting. How to get stuff done, and maybe how to have a little fun in the meeting so that people leave knowing what to do, what was discussed, and really that the meeting has value. So pay attention. This episode could absolutely change the way that you run meetings. At Thrive15.com, we believe that knowledge without application is meaningless.
So as you're watching today's episode, go ahead and take the time needed to take some notes on this small business management training. Ask yourself, what do you need to do to apply these very principles in your life? In whose life? In your life and business. Otherwise, today's episode may just be more meaningless than a series of ambulances and cars and trains and cabs that drive by the office that we can't shoot with our flat cannon. David Robinson, how are you, sir?
-Clay, good to see you today.
-Hey, I'm excited to talk to you about something that is actually a thing that I really sometimes don't like to even go to. There things called meetings.
-Yeah, well. They happen.
-Yeah And we're talking about how to execute an effective meeting. Specifically, there's a lot of people that joke about death by meeting, where basically you have an idea, and then you have a meeting, and you have a meeting about the meeting. And then you have a commission or a team or an advisory group, and then you meet, and you meet. And eventually we don't even know what we're talking about. And so we're going to talk about how to have an effective meeting.
And so, David, if you're in business with two people or more, you're going to have to have a staff meeting. And so I think it's important that we all learn how to have an effective staff meeting. Anybody watching this. If you have two people working for you or you have 20, you're going to have to have an effective staff meeting, or you're going to be kind of stuck. So we're going to go over the seven elements that make an effective meeting. And I would love if you'd share with me how not to do it, or how to do it.
-Well, that's my expertise. I bring you to the table. I've been in plenty-- I've run plenty of meetings that were not effective, so I know what to do, and I've seen good meetings.
-Now I also want to bring this up though, because even though you are a very humble person, you had a lot of success in the NBA, which is great, but if I were to just put that aside-- then you got out of the NBA. You retired. And you've launched the Carver Academy, which is a school which has grown to now there's 350 students?
-About 320, yeah.
-320 students. And the school, you started from nothing. Just a dream, and you put money and time and sweat and everything into it, and now you're going to open up 20 schools over the next five years. Is that correct?
-Yes. 20 schools here in San Antonio.
-Absolutely. 10,000 students.
-That's amazing. That's a fabulous footprint. So you've obviously done a few things right off the court. So I'm going to give you credit in that area. Here we go. So element number one is we need to make an agenda. I want to create a typed out agenda with a specific outcome. And so David, since entering the world of entrepreneurship, have ever found yourself stuck in a poorly ran meeting that is completely void of an agenda, agenda items, or outcomes?
-Yes, I have been in a few of those meetings. And it's very frustrating. And for me it was difficult. Because starting a school, I was bringing in-- my board members were all these very important people. They don't have a lot of time. We come together in these meetings, and they want the agenda. They want to know what we're going over. They want to know how much time we're going to spend. And they need to get out of there. They don't have time to waste.
And I imagine your staff, if you only have two people, they don't have a lot of time to waste, to sit around and chat. So it is very important to have a typed agenda. And I think it's even better to have the time limits on each agenda item, because that way you can move on when it's time.
-So you actually like to put time limits on each item?
-Oh, absolutely. That way it gives you a-- we could sit and debate for days about certain items. But that's not fruitful in a particular meeting.
-Does that come from your naval background, where you guys had-- because you were in the Naval Academy. I've researched as much as I can about this without actually going there. And I'm a little bit scared about how detailed your schedule was.
-It was extreme in the military. But also it allowed you to move through a lot of items. And I think in most of these meetings, it's better to keep yourselves moving and get to the overall agenda of the meeting, try to get as many things accomplished as you possibly can in that meeting. Occasionally there are items that you need to determine at the time. But for the most part, we spend a lot of time debating things that could easily be talked about at another time.
-Now why is it so important in your mind for leaders to take the time needed to create a well thought out agenda, as opposed to just showing up?
-Well, I don't know a good analogy to give you. But it's sort of like going to the amusement park with your children. There's lots of things we'd love to do today. But there's 100,000 other people that are doing the same things. And if we just wander around, we might get to those things we wanted to do. We might get to ride this ride and that ride. But if we set out a clear agenda, and we get the easy pass, the fast pass, and we do some other things, we're going to get to all the rides.
The kids are going to get the full experience. And we're going to enjoy our day. But if we do not set out an agenda for that trip through Disney World, we're going to be hot and sweaty, and we didn't get to ride three of the rides that we had planned on riding that day. So you can take your choice. Which one would you like to do?
-So whether you're going to Disney World or you're going to a meeting, it's important to set some sort of an agenda so you actually get some things done.
-I'm expecting my check from Disney World any time now. But, yes.
-We'll talk to Lee Cockrell and see if he can make that happen.
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-Now a lot of entrepreneurs watching this are guilty of this. I know I used to be guilty of it. You go to a meeting, and there's nothing written down. There's nothing. So like I found with one of our companies, a meeting can take 15 minutes, because we have some items we need to cover, and then we're done. And sometimes there's meetings where they can be an hour long. A lot of entrepreneurs are just not taking, they say, I'm too busy to make an agenda. So they get together for their staff meeting, nothing's written down, people talk in circles for an hour, and then they leave confused. Would you just tell me, hey, man, you got to grow up a little bit and make an agenda? What would you tell me if I'm not making agendas for meetings?
-I would tell you, you're not getting nearly as much as you think you are done. That time you spend taking and putting down that agenda, saves you more in productivity. There's so many ways that it saves you time and energy and resources. It is worth having an agenda. It is worth pointing people toward certain items, and it's worth giving it to them in advance, so they can think about those items and prepare for the meeting.
-I've heard that Coach Popovich of the Spurs is a phenomenal teacher. I've heard that he's really good at teaching.
-Yes, he is.
-Did he ever come to the meetings with a great agenda, or some sort of just two items he wanted to talk about or one? Did he do that a lot? Who's maybe the best, I guess, coach you've had in terms of laying out an agenda?
-Actually almost all the coaches I've had, I mean, you don't get to that level, that pro level, unless you have some sense of what you want to accomplish. And you have a structured way to achieve those things. So I think all of the coaches that I've had were extremely good at putting their charts out. There was always for pre season, you get a nice booklet full of all the plays, and all the things we want to accomplish during preseason. Then you go into the regular season, and every game, you have a nice list of things you need to know about each player, and nice agenda items that you can point to. So we were always very focused. That's how you get to the pro level, being focused. Maybe some of the summer league teams, they didn't have some of the agenda. That that's why those coaches aren't coaching in the pros now.
-So I want to make sure that we don't miss this. You said, to be coaching at the pro level, you have to be awesome at agendas. You just can't even be at the pro level, so it's almost a crazy question, because you're saying, if I'm a pro coach, I'm going to have an agenda.
-Absolutely. And you've got these high performing guys at your fingertips. Do not waste their time and their energy. And it's the same in any arena. You bring in these talented people, you want to put them to work. Do not waste their time and their energy. They will get frustrated, if you don't point them in the right direction. And these meetings have to be detailed and useful for them to be successful in their jobs.
-If for no other reason than because I'm extremely interested in this, when you got the player profiles, or the little detail about each player that you're going against, so a, kind of, scouting report.
-How detailed were those things? What kind of things would they put on there?
-Height, weight, tendencies, and all the little things that--
-Like, cannot dribble left.
-Yeah, if there were one on you. Doesn't ever go left. Not a good shooter with a hand in his face.
-OK. So you would just need the real tendencies, that would help you, kind of, freshen up before the game?
-Absolutely. We want to be focused, especially on those guys that we know we're going to guard. We need to know what they like to do. The key is taking away their advantages . So those scouting reports usually pointed us towards our ability to take away their advantages... Small Business Management.
-I love how this preparation has prepared you to be an entrepreneur. I love how you have been able to take some of these core concepts you learned in basketball and in the Navy, and you were able to put it into entrepreneurship. Man, that's exciting.
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-Now, the second thing is, we have to know who's going to be there. Our second element is, we have to know the participants, who we need to be there. We want to make a detailed participant list. Now, as entrepreneurs, we are passionate about our ideas. And so we naturally want to share these ideas with everybody.
DAVID ROBINSON: Right.
-Yet, it can prove to be a very wasteful use of everyone's time if I'm in a meeting I don't need to be in.
DAVID ROBINSON: Absolutely.
-And so can you talk to me about how, at Carver, you decide who needs to be in this meeting, who doesn't need to be in the meeting. How did you do that?
DAVID ROBINSON: Yeah. I've always hated to have people come to a meeting that don't need to be there. I know, for myself, I don't like being in meetings that I don't need to be in. So I think this is real critical. I mean, for us, I like to meet with a lot of the people who are making decisions in particular areas.
So my head of school is always important. My associate head of school, I had someone who was in charge of the curriculum and other things. So I spend a lot of time within my meetings with them. And they tended to have to be at most of my meetings. But there are other times when we would bring other people in. And I think that's very key.
As a leader, you end up delegating a lot of that responsibility. So you don't necessarily need to have a lot of the people that are a little bit down the line in those meetings all the time. You need to be able to trust those people that you're working with. So I mean, that's enough, that you learn how to be effective with your time, and that's a big part of it.
-I don't know if you agree with us at all, but I have five kids. And so I have the different businesses and the kids. And people always say, well, we'd love for you to be in our meeting. We'd love for you to come to our meeting. We'd love for you to-- And I always like to ask the question, specifically what do you want me to do at the meeting? What is my role?
And they're usually, like, well, we'd just like to have you there. I always try to be tactful. But I'm always saying to them, well, I don't really think that it's a good use of my time to be there. But if you do need something, let me know. Because I think that the death by meeting thing, you can kill your schedule.
-If you end up serving-- I mean, for all these boards you're serving on, and you go to all these meetings-- how much do you revere your time, now? Now that you're out of the NBA, and you have this great family, and now you have a little time, how much do you value your time? And how, I guess, frustrating is it when you are in those meetings you don't need to be in?
-Well, truthfully, time for me now is the most valuable commodity I have. I have children, as well, and my youngest one is still in high school. And if I'm going to just be somewhere, I'd rather be at his basketball game. So there's great reason for me to just be there for them, be there for my wife and be available. Even if I'm doing nothing, that's a good use of my time.
But being in a meeting about sales, or being in a meeting about staff that I don't necessarily need to be in, is not a particularly good use of my time. So I think we just need to be considerate and understand that about, if we don't want to be used in that manner, let's not use other people in that manner.
-Robert Kiyosaki, he's a bestselling author, writes a lot of financial books. He says that time is our most valuable asset. And I know for me, that was a huge thing. As a young entrepreneur, I didn't have a lot of money.
And he also pointed out in the book, well, you don't have a lot of time, either. Because see, you're only going to live one time, and so you need to quit doing things that waste your time. So these are the big things. I think it's a good principle.
The final question I had for you about participants, who typically decided at the Admiral-- or who typically decides, right now, at your capital-- it's the equity fund, the Admiral Equity Fund. And at the Carver Academy, who needs to be in the meeting? Do you decide that, who needs to be the meetings? Or who decides this now?
-It's usually the people who organized the meeting. So if me and my partner have organized a meeting, then we'll sit down and decide the people that are key in being there. Every year we have investors meetings that we'll bring in. And we'll have our investors in there, but who else needs to be in there? We're the ones that decide that.
So that so the meeting organizers are generally the ones that will decide the important, the key figures that need to be there. I think it's a very tough skill to have. Because you need to know what your agenda is, you need to be able to plan it out, and you need to know who's involved in which items.
And if you have a meeting, and somebody's not there that needs to be there, then that's probably better than having people there that don't need to be there. Because you can always relay information to someone who wasn't there. You can give them the cliff notes of the meeting. But when you're wasting someone else's time, who could be productive in another place, that's probably worse... Small Business Management.
-I just think it's phenomenal, again, because the size of-- the amount of properties you have now, you guys are growing a very nice portfolio. And you guys own a lot of different properties with the equity fund. And things are growing, but you have to stay organized. And it seems like, if we're casual, that's when the casualties happen. Whenever we're casual, that's when things--
DAVID ROBINSON: Absolutely.
-So there's a certain formality that you have to bring to this.
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