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Best New Thinking Winner 2010

Koan No. 18

Koan No 18 Positioning (people in meetings)

“My mother has always said that the right seating is the secret of a good dinner party”
Meg Whitman CEO Ebay


US magazines love to do profiles on the biggest and the best. And I found this quotation in a profile of the most powerful business women on the planet. Among the androgenous, shoulder padded, big desked sorority was Meg Whitman – looking refreshingly out of place as CEO of the world’s “fastest ever” growing company which only 8 years old and turned over $3 billion last year. Nice to do business with apparently but she does insist on instructing people where people to sit in meetings. Eccentric? Not necessarily. To spend millions positioning a brand but to waste months in wrangling and wasted meetings because you don’t get interpersonal dynamics right is a waste of energy and people resources. Ebay is an interesting company because it works by permission and persuasion not compulsion. Could be an idea worth trying for your next big client presentation – but remember to arrange for the outcome which will please both parties not just the outcome you want. The best meetings are negotiations not duels.



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