The “Other” One-on-One Meeting: Using our time together to make our group better
I have focused a lot over the past several months on how you and your company can the the most out of our networks both professionally and personally. I have given hints and advice on how to go about the network meetings be it from the one-to-one meetings to planning what you want out of the entire get together. Today, since our meeting is upon us, I would like to focus on one more aspect of our Annual General Meeting (AGM) and that is the comments and constructive criticism that you may have for us.
First of all, we welcome it. Sports teams don’t excel when their coaches don’t tell them what they do wrong. We realize that we aren’t perfect. I’ve been doing this type of work since 2003 and I have been involved with networks from the other side of the table since well before, as many of you know, and I’d be a fool to tell you that I know everything even at this point. So we do expect a fair amount of level constructive criticism and comments. There are ways that make it even more positive so if it were down to us here is what we’d like to see…
Problems to be fixed: If you feel that we are doing something wrong or that there is a glitch in the system, please also give us an idea of how you can fix it. More minds on a problem gets better ideas and if your idea is better we will see how to implement it.
Personal conflicts: If you have a personality conflict with any one of our staff or any member please make sure that this is one that you do in a one-on-one with me or directly with that person. Personality conflicts shouldn’t be the business of the entire quorum and would be counter productive for others to be involved in this business. Personality conflicts are unavoidable in large groups of people but they should never dominate a meeting of large groups of people.
Disputes: If you have a dispute with another member who happens to be there if you would like to get the problem sorted let me know. I will make time to sit down with you personally then will catch that person face-to-face on the matter then if it can be sorted here and now I’ll arrange a three-way sit down. We will do our best to get it resolved.
Opportunities: If you have an idea which can help us to raise the bar, attract good members or help out the group in general I am most happy to discuss this with you as well. We are always looking for new ideas and welcome them all.
Three things to remember about coming to me or my colleagues:
- While the meeting is going on everyone, whether event staff or attendee, is very busy – sometimes almost frantic. So even while it is okay to grab someone when you have a free moment, that moment might have a way of slipping. Someone might grab you, something in the program needs moved along, etc. So if you get a quick chance I’d e-mail the person in advance you want to meet so that it is already on their radar. It just needs to be one or two lines saying that you want to see them, what it concerns and to touch base so you can both find a good, opportune time and place. It’s not always possible, but this little heads up really can help and there’s no real down side to it.
- We will do our very best to take action on the matter brought up and settle it or move on it during the meeting. Some times are more possible than other times. We will take care of the matter or get back on it. We won’t let it die right there, but have a bit of patience. Speaking face-to-face is the best way to resolve most issues, but remember how many people will be at the meeting as well so please give us a little bit on leeway when it comes to this.
- Though I touched on this above, please use discretion. Try to be discrete, especially if it is a problem with another person / member. The last thing anyone needs at an AGM is open conflict. I don’t need to say this to the majority of people but there are some out there who still need to hear it. It isn’t good for either side when dirty laundry is aired and the whole quorum is talking about it.
Most of the people who have known me a long time also know that I do make time for them. I will sit down for deep discussions about what is going on with them, their companies, our network. My colleagues are the same. These AGM’s are in many ways the best thing we have going to learn more about you all and our own work. We do our best to get around to each and every person who attends, which is a task in and of itself if done properly, we do want you to know not worry about pulling us aside. It’s your right and it’s our privileged.
Gary Dale Cearley is the Managing Director of Advanced International Networks Ltd. (AIN), one of the fastest growing and most dynamic business-to-business networking organizations in the world. AIN’s networks include AerOceaNetwork (AON), XLProjects Network (XLP), and AiO Logistics Network. Gary Dale has been in many facets of international freight forwarding for more than two decades from operations to sales to the owner of the first 100% foreign owned freight forwarding company licensed in Vietnam. The companies that he has been involved with have been both generalists and specialists. He has also worked from large European and Asian multinationals (Danzas and Hankyu Express) as well has small start up forwarders. For the past ten years Gary Dale has owned and operated AIN. He has lived in several major cities in four different countries and he is multilingual. Currently Gary Dale runs the AIN operation from Bangkok, Thailand, but travels the world over.