Follow the Leaders
“Less Doing” was the theme of this year’s VACEOs Retreat, and there’s no better expert on the subject than Ari Meisel. The founder of Less Doing, Meisel is a self-described “overwhelmologist” who helps entrepreneurs find focus, flexibility and freedom in their work. His methodology enables founders to become replaceable so they can scale their business.
During his workshop at this year’s Retreat, he asked the audience, “What are some of your biggest productivity challenges?” No surprise: Many members in the audience reported managing email as problematic.
Here are a few email tips we gathered from Ari’s presentation. What techniques do you use to manage your inbox? Leave us a comment. We’d love to hear about them!
“Email is a transactional communication,” says Ari. “Internal conversations tend to be exactly that – conversations, brainstorming, ideas, arguments. That’s why, when people try to use email, we get the 20 BCCs and forwards. It’s just not designed for it. People don’t use email very well to begin with. Using it for internal communication is terrible.”
To maximize our productivity, we need to stop unnecessary email from getting into our inbox in the first place. The best way to do that is by not using email for things we’re not supposed to use it for, says Ari. He suggests using at least four communication tools for different internal communications needs.
There’s a tool for every job, and Ari suggests you have these four, at minimum, in your toolbox:
For daily check-ins and conversations, Ari is a big fan of Voxer. “Every morning in our company, at 8:00 a.m., there’s a message that pops up in our Voxer group, and it says, ‘Hey team, time to check in. What are you going to work on today, and what’s your biggest obstacle?’”
Ari also suggests a tool like SLACK. Use it for conversations that aren’t brainstorming and not really conversational. Use it to share things people need to know. Ex: “Hey everybody, make sure to respond to our recent Facebook post.”
Lastly, you need a place where things get done. That’s important, because once you’ve decided something needs to get done, it needs to be removed from the communication stream and put into a project management space – a place where things get accomplished. “Trello is my choice for project management,“ says Ari.
So you’ve got your communication tools in place to help with internal communications. Great! But, of course, you can’t stop the emails from coming in. Your productivity will soar if you learn how to streamline your sorting process when they do. First step? Make a dramatic change to your folder structure.
According to Ari, you only need two folders: Archive and Optional. “The inbox is the place where work should happen. That’s the Zen place. Then there’s the Archive in Outlook and Gmail, which is not garbage. It’s not deleted, it’s not gone – it’s just not in inbox. Everything else goes there. You need one other folder – the Optional folder.
To keep your email streamlined and your energy focused on the essential, it’s vital that you create an automatic method to filter messages to your Optional folder.
“In Gmail, it’s called a filter,” says Ari. “In Apple, it’s called a rule. It’s a very simple rule. It says that if an email enters your inbox and has the word ‘unsubscribe’ in it, it should skip your inbox and go right into the Optional folder. That usually takes care of about 62% of the emails that come into your inbox.”
“I know some of you are thinking, ‘But there’s that newsletter I love reading!’ which is fine,” Ari says. “It’s going to be there in the Optional folder. And you get into a habit, because our brains are not quite there with the technology, when you click on the Optional folder – which you might do once a day, or maybe once a week – and you’re now in “optional” mode. You know there’s nothing essential in there, so you can go through those Facebook updates, newsletters, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll read that,’ much faster. It’s a stress-free environment, and the inbox gets filtered for you.”
Ok, most of our messages have been filtered and moved. But we’ve still got messages in our inbox. Now what?
Delete: Ask yourself, “Do I really need to respond?” “Something like 42% of the emails we reply to don’t require a response,” Ari explains. “If you’ve ever found yourself sending an email that says, ‘Got it’ or ‘Hey, thanks,’ don’t do that. There’s a boomerang effect in email: The more you send out, the more you get. We can get better about saying no. And sometimes ‘no’ is just you see it and you don’t respond to it.”
Deal With It: The second decision is deal with it. “Dealing with it could include a little Subset D, which is to delegate it,” say Ari. “If you can deal with something right now – like within the next three minutes – deal with it right now. I don’t know where we got this concept that something’s going to magically change three minutes later.”
Defer: (not to be confused with procrastination): Deferring is making an active decision and deciding that there’s a better time to do some things. “If you look at deferring as a way to decide that there’s a better time and place that you’re going to do things, it becomes really empowering for you,” Ari reveals.
Start using this decision-making matrix each day and watch your productivity soar!
*Source: Ari Meisel Workshop, VACEOs Retreat 2019
Cameron Herold is the mastermind behind hundreds of companies’ exponential expansion, and he’s rightfully earned a reputation as a growth guru by guiding his clients to double their profit and their revenue in just three years or less.
During VACEOs Retreat 2019, Herold taught attendees actionable, practical tactics for taking their business to the next level. More specifically, he explained how to build a culture, how to define your big hairy audacious goal (BHAG), and how to leverage a second in command. His most important message: Growth won’t happen unless you define your vision first.
Kelley Powell, CEO of MacLaurin Group, has already taken Herold’s words to heart. She netted an extra hour with Herold after submitting the top wager in a friendly bidding war that raised funds for an amazing cause, the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation. She’s recently spent her time working with Herold on her company’s Vivid Vision.
“I am humbled and appreciative that Cameron Herold is a part of MacLaurin Group’s journey,” said Powell. “For those who know Kelley Powell best, you will not be surprised to hear Cameron had me at ‘Goals. Measurements. Outcomes.’ Data always tells the true story. The only way to reach a Vivid Vision is to know you are on pace to get there,” she says.
“How you reach your destination of a Vivid Vision? Simply, focus,” Powell adds. She suggests you start as she did, by purchasing Cameron’s recent book, Meetings Suck for everyone on your team.
Ever think to yourself, “I wish my employees were as intuitive as I am”? If you’re like most CEOs, you have. “We’ve all said it,” said Herold at the VACEOs Retreat 2019. “The only reason you’re so intuitive is that you see the picture no one else can see. If they could see what you can see, they would be just as intuitive.”
So how do you get them to see what you can see? Create a Vivid Vision.
“The first step is you’ve got to get out of the box,” Herold told the VACEOs Retreat 2019 crowd. “You have to go, get out of the box, get out of your office, and go somewhere around nature – somewhere where you can get inspired. Pretend you’re flying in a time machine and you leave today and you arrive in the future to December 31, 2021, and I want you to look around your company, and I want you to describe what you see as if you’re standing in your company and you’re describing what you see.”
Herold’s approach includes capturing three or four bullet points about:
Then move on to what your suppliers are saying, what your banker is saying, what your accountant is saying … your lawyer. Describe meetings, customer service, marketing, operations, IT, engineering and finance.
“Don’t worry about how these things are going to happen,” Herold explained. “Just describe what it feels like and then start pulling together your first rough draft. Your job as the CEO is to only pull together the first rough draft. A rough Word document – three or four pages of a Word document.”
Next, pass off your rough draft to a writer to capture it in such a way that it becomes a magnet and pulls people toward your business. Later, add some design elements to it to make it feel more like your brand.
Your Vivid Vision should attract AND repel those who take it in. “You have to be willing to push people away,” said Herold. “The alignment around vision is where culture starts. The media talking about the massages, the free bicycles, all the lunches – that’s not culture. That stuff comes way later. Culture starts with alignment on vision and getting a good employee in the same direction. Our role as CEO is to be the Chief Energizing Officer and communicate vision – and to bring in the people who buy into it.”
About the overall experience with Cameron she tells us: “With a shared spirit of investing in others, our time was incredibly meaningful knowing together we contributed to the beacon of hope for those affected by teenage mental illness, the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation. I have personally signed up to run the 5k in the fall. I encourage each of you reading to do so as well. Special thank you to Cameron and to the team at Virginia Council of CEO’s for creating truly meaningful connections.”
Want to hear more about Kelley Powell’s journey with Cameron Herold? Cameron will be joining Kelley on the MacLaurin Group’s “Demystifying Technology” podcast soon. (Subscribe here: https://maclaurin.group/demystifying-technology-podcast/)
Thanks for sharing your experience with us Kelley!
We often hear that the VACEOs Annual Retreat is “worth the price of membership alone,” and it’s no wonder: It’s a three-day event filled with opportunities to learn from national thought leaders, participate in CEO workshops and network. But there are many other reasons to become a member of the Virginia Council of CEOs. Learn more about the benefits of membership.
May 6, 2019, Richmond, Virginia: The Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs), a non-profit association serving more than 240 small and mid-sized business owners, announced today that Arlene Lee, President of R.E. Lee Companies has been awarded the Charles E. McCabe Leadership Award. Lee was honored on Thursday, May 2, 2019, for her leadership and dedicated effort to grow the Charlottesville membership base at the 15th Annual VACEOs Retreat held at the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Virginia.
The Charles E. McCabe Leadership Award, presented by the Virginia Council of CEOs Board of Directors, recognizes VACEOs members who make significant leadership contributions to the Council. Chuck McCabe, CEO of Peoples Tax and The Income Tax School, was appropriately named as the first recipient of the award during the 2017 VACEOs Retreat. David R. Barrett, President and CEO of Barrett Capital Management, LLC, became the second recipient.
Arlene Lee has been an active member of the Council since 2016. She currently serves as a Forum Leader and is an active Advisory Board member. Frequently making trips to VACEOs events in Richmond from her home base in Charlottesville, she is a valued ambassador and connector between the Council and the Charlottesville market membership base. Lee tirelessly connected the Council leadership with influencers and attended nearly every one of 25 events held in Charlottesville over the last two years.
“When we began our expansion in Charlottesville, this member led the way,” said JJ White — current VACEOs Chair and Dale Carnegie Training Franchise Owner — during the award presentation.
“She made such a difference because she simply shares her experience of being a newer CEO, and the many ways that the Council and her Forum have helped her learn and grow as a leader,” said Scot McRoberts, Executive Director, Virginia Council of CEOs. Adding, “The impact of Arlene’s leadership on our growth in Charlottesville has been critical. We simply would not have succeeded without her.”
As of April of this year, the Council has three roundtable groups in Charlottesville.
“My experience here with the Council has been pretty incredible,” said Arlene Lee about the award. “I just really, really want to thank you for what you’ve done for me. What I have done for you is peanuts. You inspire me to do more, learn more, and plant seeds everywhere. Thank you so much, all of you.”
Charles E. McCabe Leadership Award Recipients
2019: Arlene Lee, President, R.E. Lee Companies
2018: David R. Barrett, President and CEO of Barrett Capital Management
2017: Chuck McCabe, CEO of Peoples Tax and The Income Tax School
Noah Scalin is an artist, author, and activist. His fine art has been exhibited in museums and galleries internationally, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, and Krause Gallery in New York City, to name a few. His firm, Another Limited Rebellion, provides executive education and professional development training for GE, Capital One, Mozilla, Altria and others.
Inspired by his work and art, we asked him to develop something for Retreat 2019. The resulting artwork is vibrant and truly amazing. He created a time-lapse video for us, but we wanted to know more. See our Q&A session with him below.
A: The design came out of a conversation about what would best represent the organization visually. It made sense that we focus in on the CEO Roundtables and also on the interconnectedness of the diverse membership through events like this annual Retreat. In addition, we wanted to make sure we showed the vibrant creativity of the VACEOs community.
A: The work is created from hundreds of commercially produced stickers, the kind that is often given to children to celebrate their success in school or other activities. Creating imagery from these diverse elements is a technique I’ve developed over the last several years after getting inspiration from seeing my own daughter play with stickers when she was 2 years old. I loved how she ignored the images and instead created these beautiful collages out of the random combination of elements. This piece took around ten hours to produce.
A: The finished piece will become part of my larger body of work that I’m making with stickers – including other abstract pieces, images of birds, portraits of people, and historic events. Hopefully it’ll eventually be on display in a museum or gallery sometime soon!
Noah will present his workshop “The Art of Innovation” at the VACEOs Retreat 2019 — an annual event for VACEOs Members and Sponsors. Not a member? You should be! The VACEOs Annual Retreat is included with membership. It’s our signature event where national thought leaders share their knowledge and Members enjoy a variety of opportunities to learn, grow, and connect with attendees. (Watch video.)
Becoming a Member is easy. Simply fill out an online form. Still not sure? Visit one of the links below:
We are pleased to announce that we are once again returning to Kingsmill for our annual Retreat. Ari Meisel, founder of Less Doing, sets the theme this year, and together, with the other speakers, we’ll find focus, flexibility, and freedom. We will build more creative muscle in our organizations and learn how to take our businesses to the next level of growth. There will also opportunities to learn about mindfulness and how to handle difficult people.
Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind event to learn, connect, and grow with fellow VACEOs Members.
(This event is for VACEOs Members and Sponsors only.)
“I’m looking forward to bringing my actionable techniques to the members of the VA Council of CEOs. My goal is to bring focus and empower, and I look forward to meeting this great group of entrepreneurs.” – Ari Meisel
About Ari’s Presentation
Fill in the blank. My business would be more successful and I would be a happier CEO if I could do MORE ________ and LESS ________.
Less doing is the theme of this year’s VACEOs Retreat and there’s no better expert than Ari Meisel. Meisel, founder of Less Doing, will share the principles within his latest book The Replaceable Founder during his keynote address AND small group workshops at this year’s VACEOs Retreat.
About Ari Meisel and Less Doing
Meisel is a self-described “Overwhelmologist” and founder of Less Doing. He helps entrepreneurs who have opportunity in excess of what their infrastructure can support, find focus, flexibility, and freedom in their business. The methodology enables founders to become replaceable so they can scale their business. Learn more about Ari.
“I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at Kingsmill this May. We’re going to really dig into all the best systems and tools to accelerate your growth, and build a world class culture for your company that will attract the best employees to work for you. You’re going to learn about what critical few things you need to do, so you really leverage the Pareto Principle – where 80% of our results come from 20% of our effort. Revenue and Profit growth will be easier than ever.” – Cameron Herold
About Cameron’s Presentation
Cameron Herold is the mastermind behind hundreds of companies’ exponential growth. He has rightfully earned a reputation as a business growth guru by guiding his clients to double their profit and double their revenue in just three years or less.
Cameron will teach us actionable, practical things you can do today to take your business to the next level of growth.
About Cameron Herald
Cameron is the Founder of the COO Alliance and a top rated International speaker and author of the global best selling business book Double Double. His newest book, Meetings Suck, has been called “A must read for 100% of employees and leaders.” Called by Forbes magazine publisher Rich Karlgaard “The best speaker I’ve ever heard,” he is a mastermind behind hundreds of companies’ exponential growth and speaks from experience. Learn more about Cameron.
“I can’t wait to see you expand your defaults and jumpstart your creativity! I hope it will inspire you to DO MORE Making, DO LESS procrastinating!” – Noah Scalin
About Noah’s Presentation
Creativity has become an essential 21st-century skill required to keep up with the pace of innovation and constantly changing business landscape. This session introduces seven strategies for a creative approach to leadership that attendees will immediately into practice with a high-energy, hands-on, iterative making workshop. This workshop will help you:
About Noah Scalin
Noah Scalin is an artist, author, and activist. He was the inaugural artist-in-residence at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business where he has been retained as adjunct faculty. His fine art has been exhibited in museums and galleries internationally, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, and Krause Gallery in New York City, to name a few. His firm, Another Limited Rebellion an art & innovation, provides executive education and professional development training for GE, Capital One, Mozilla, Altria and more. Learn more about Noah.
“I’m looking forward to serving the members of the VA Council of CEOs. My objective is to help each participant discover their unique gifts and those of their closest colleagues and clients. Attendees will walk away with a fresh perspectives on how to lead more effectively and communicate more clearly. This session will be a game-changer for organizational leaders. I look forward to meeting you at Kingsmill in May.” – Greg Jordan
About Greg’s Workshop
In this session, participants will explore seven primary motivations that affect every interpersonal, leadership and management interaction. This engaging and insightful presentation will provide practical, easy-to-use methods to generate a deeper understanding of others and our own unique make-up. The session will also give special attention to: individual coaching ideas, team performance measurements, and key leadership development ideas.
About Greg Jordan
Greg is a managing director of business development with U.S. Bank. He is responsible for cultivating new business opportunities in various sectors including: corporate, commercial, not-for-profit and state/local government. He is also responsible for implementing and overseeing strategic initiatives with attorneys, financial advisors and private equity firms throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions. Learn more about Greg.
“I am looking forward to meeting you all at this year’s retreat and to sharing some mindfulness concepts and present moment living skills as a foundational way to navigate life and work.” – Clair Norman
About Clair and Danny’s Workshop
This presentation/workshop will demonstrate the benefits of mindfulness, mindful leadership, and the effects of present-moment living on life and the bottom line. How does an individual or an organization take the next step toward a more mindful approach to life and work? Learn how here!
About Clair Norman
Clair Norman is the Assistant Executive Director at the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation whose efforts focus on programming and mindfulness expansion. A former director of marketing for a local hospital system, she holds certifications and advanced training in mindfulness from Mindful Schools and UC San Diego’s Center for Mindfulness. Clair is a certified yoga instructor actively teaching to teens and their influencers and also in the corporate environment. Clair is sister to Grace Gallagher, Executive Director of CKG Foundation. Learn more about Clair.
“I am looking forward to meeting everyone at this year’s retreat, and I am excited to share my story and learn from others to help catalyze a path to a great life.” – Danny Coulbourn”
About Danny Coulbourn
Danny Coulbourn is the Head of Learning and Development at CapTech Consulting whose efforts focus on employee engagement, leadership development and work/life integration. Prior to joining CapTech Consulting, Danny was an independent Management Consultant, Executive Coach, and Corporate Educator. Danny has worked with Fortune 100 companies all around the world, and he hold certifications and advanced training in performance consulting, executive coaching, Design Thinking and sales. Danny is also a 36 year survivor of a bone marrow failure disease called Aplastic Anemia. He is an avid mindfulness practitioner and always wants to help others find good health and happiness in life. Learn more about Danny.
“I’m looking forward to meeting you at Kingsmill and discussing how an entrepreneurial mindset can boost your bottom line, increase employee retention, and disrupt industries.” – Pedro Espinoza
About Pedro’s Workshop
Pedro’s workshop will demonstrate and evaluate how an entrepreneurial mindset can boost your bottom line, increase employee retention, and disrupt industries. Embracing an entrepreneurial philosophy within a business will allow your coworkers and employees take ownership in their daily jobs: research shows employee engagement rates increase when your employee takes a sense of ownership over his or her role. By implementing an entrepreneurial approach to leading your SMB, your hierarchy structure will go from vertical to horizontal. Thus, making it more accessible for your workers to have an open door policy: sharing meals together, company social events, and even volunteering/community service programs outside of work.
Last but not least, the kaizen mindset of continuous improvement is a key element to becoming an intrapreneur. You will be able to challenge your employees to implement kaizen methodologies at work: to prioritize their 3 top pain points at work and come up with practical and measurable solutions for each. This will not only decrease your administrative expenses but also increase the creativity levels in your organization. Take the leap and learn how to embrace disruption within your business.
About Pedro Espinoza
Pedro David Espinoza is “The Robin Hood of Technology” according to The Voice of America. He is an internet entrepreneur, angel investor, keynote speaker, and soon-to-be author. He’s an investor in early stage companies such as Nadine West, Kiwi Campus, and Feed.FM, and a past keynote speaker for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the World Intellectual Property Organization, and other prestigious associations, universities, and conferences. He has also been profiled in Voice of America, Univision, Hispanic Shark Tank, Fox News, and Forbes. Learn more about Pedro.
“I am so honored to be a part of this event. With a focus on keeping things simple, and a desire to inspire, my goal is for leaders to walk away feeling empowered to close gender gaps and create a more unified workplace. Less distraction, more innovation.” – Mindy Flanigan
About Mindy’s Workshop
Thanks in part to the “me too” movement, the risks of unprofessional workplace behavior, including discrimination and harassment, linger as a major concern for many leaders. It’s not just the lawsuits. Successful leaders want everyone to keep their “eye on the ball” and know that fractured workplaces incur unnecessary costs and tend to fall behind or fail.
Drawing some content from Joanne Lipman’s book titled “That’s What She Said”, this session will:
About Mindy Flanigan
Mindy Flanigan is a 25+ years of experience Human Resource Management Professional, PHR certified through the Human Resource Certification Institute since 2002 and SHRM – CP certified through the Society of Human Resource Management since 2015.
As the founder and CIO of Inspiring HR, LLC she and her team strive for HR Done Differently, providing services to small businesses that follow their HR-SURE® standards; Simple, Understandable, Relevant and Empowering.
A significant amount of Mindy’s small business HR experience comes from over 20+ years working within or supporting the PEO/HR Outsourcing Industry; 1993 to present. With a background that includes Compliance, Employee Management Best Practices, Payroll and Benefits, Mindy’s time spent delivering or leading (a team of 9) on the delivery of Human Resource services has given her a unique understanding of how to make HR simple and valuable for small businesses.