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Learn from Mattel – Wake Up to Your Business in 2015


The Mattel Corporation, home of Barbie and Hot Wheels, is struggling with shrinking revenues and declining market share (similar to Coke, McDonalds, Hewlitt-Packard…).

As an executive or owner trying to create and maintain a sustainable business, what can you learn from them?

Mattel lost more than a third of its market value in 2014 – over a $6 billion drop (ouch!) as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

How can you wake up to your own business realities so that you don’t find your business struggling through a vicious downward cycle like these giant icons?

Mattel is focusing in part on how they conduct meetings.  Sounds mundane – but American workers, especially executives and senior managers report spending over half their days in meetings! Another ouch!

The Journal reported Mattel’s new rules for their executives and the meetings they hold.

    • No meeting is to be held without a specific purpose.
    • No more than 10 people should participate unless the meeting is for training purposes.
    • There should be no more than a TOTAL of three meetings to make any decision.

These new rules would indicate that perhaps Mattel was not having very productive meetings.  Time is a business person’s most precious resource because you can never get it back.  The last thing you want to do is waste it in meetings.

I love Mattel’s new rules, but the problem no doubt starts long before the meeting itself. It starts with the very nature of how people communicate, think and take risks.

As you kick off a new year, what is the state of meetings in your business?

To make meetings better you may like to consider that preparation is everything in a productive efficient meeting.  Before you schedule a meeting, ask yourself honestly (ideally in a quiet uninterrupted space):

What is the ideal outcome for this meeting?

What do I really want to communicate?  How does it fit with the vision of where I am leading this business?

This leads you to understand the nature and purpose of the meeting.

Stepping back further for a moment, recognize that the complexity of business today demands an overall structure and strategy for meetings if you have a team of two or more people.

Some meetings need to address details and some meetings need to address bigger strategic questions for a division or company.

When you don’t have clarity about the overall structure, purpose and strategy for meetings individual meetings become very cumbersome, confusing and a waste of time. Clarity and focus are required to keep business flowing and entrepreneurial thinking alive. 

Want to get clarity about your own situation?

Download the complimentary e-book – ‘Ten Steps to Improve Communication at Work’. (See top right of this post.) This will help you build a strong foundation for your own communication and clarity about where you are leading your company.

Next, check out the blog post Eliminate Boring Meetings to discover a structure for meetings in 2015 that will support your team’s creativity and innovation, as well as productivity and efficiency.

And finally, I would suggest one or two things needs to happen in every meeting.

1) Make a decision and/or
2) Solve a problem.

If either of these outcomes does not occur in every meeting, question whether the meeting really needs to happen.

Meetings should produce clarity, allowing people to move forward and take action.

If you are just gathering or sharing information – is there a more efficient way to do it?

Think how expensive a one- or two-hour meeting is that includes your senior executives.  How much are they earning on an hourly basis? What is this meeting really costing?

Could you leverage their time better by sending a survey or a memo?

You can have meetings that literally bring your business into its groove, or you can have meetings that drain participants and waste time.

Unlike Mattel, you don’t have to lose a third of your market share before you take action.

Make 2015 your year to wake up to your business and create sustainable structures and strategies to ensure consistent financial growth.

If you are the owner or CEO, doing it on our own can be challenging.A good business coach can help you create a sustainable business structure and make the very most of your opportunities. Want to explore more? Contact me here and let’s see how you can make the most of your specific business opportunities in 2015.

Share below – What new habit you will create for a more productive sustainable business this year?

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