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Let me tell you a little bit about why we started Attentiv.

Early last year, two colleagues and I headed out to Los Angeles to meet with a potential client. We worked for a marketing agency and our team was tasked with reinvigorating the company’s tired brand. Their social media was lagging and their antiquated sales process was becoming ineffective and reflecting poorly on their reputation.

The good thing is that the company recognized these issues and took them seriously. So much so, that our meetings were with the CEO, President, and every VP working at the organization.

We brought them some great ideas. Some really great ones. And they all acknowledged it during our presentation. We saw a lot of nodding heads, wide eyes, and low whispers of “wow, that’s great.” I swear they said “amazing” more than twenty times. Normally, a response like that would mean that our ideas were surefire shoo-ins. But then the top dog stood up.

He started waxing eloquent about doing things the way they had always been done. Telling the table why they might not want to change just yet. All of the sudden, the intelligent, type-A leaders around him who had already sent emails to their teams telling them about the cool new changes that were coming, became complete yes-men. Top dog said, “It’s too soon to change what we’ve been doing. Don’t you think so Jim?” Jim immediately replied, “You’re right, definitely too early.” Others mumbled, “Yes, yes too early.”

Had the boss so easily convinced them that change was not necessary? No! They just didn’t have the courage to tell the boss that they disagreed! And the boss was too busy speaking to stop and listen. It was easy to see why the business was in trouble!

On the flight home, we talked about how there has to be a way around this corporate groupthink. Surely there was a way to help smart, talented people share their thoughts with the boss. A way to keep the extroverts in the group from dominating the conversation when the introverts have good things to say. Thus, Attentiv was born!

Real-time anonymous feedback. Freedom of speech for meetings!

Photo by Neil Kremer from Flickr

Categories: Attentiv Meetings

2 Comments

  1. Mark

    03-02-2015 Reply

    This is a POWERFUL insight about how organizations work. It’s THE paradox for leaders — they need the truth, they crave the truth about what people really think. But, they almost never get the truth. Even the rare, truly self-aware leader, the one who waits to hear others’ opinions before sharing their own and who always listens before they talk, will find that it is hard for them to get the truth about what people really think about the questions that matter most. People will still generally tell the boss what they think the boss wants to hear. If this really is a solution that gets leaders real-time and anonymous feedback from their teams, it has mind-boggling potential. Can’t wait to try it.

  2. Steven

    08-26-2015 Reply

    It’s not anonymous if everyone votes against the boss! Sounds like they’re not very strong willed and therefore wouldn’t want to work somewhere their voices will be heard.

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