Tag Archives: self-improvement

One-on-One Coaching: The Most Effective Way to Develop Your People

By Jeffrey W. Foley

Jeffrey Foley: one-on-one coachingEffective one-on-one coaching is one of the most important skills a great leader must possess. Effective coaching inspires in others an internal drive to act ethically, without direction, to achieve goals. Effective coaching drives performance, builds competence and confidence, and ultimately enhances relationships. The best coaches help people find ways to make things happen as opposed to creating excuses why they can’t.

Effective coaching also requires you to believe in yourself. You need to believe that you can have an impact in the workplace, and that you can inspire others to achieve their goals they might not otherwise achieve. The real question is not if you will make a difference, but what difference you will make.

Respectful, transparent, and regular face-to-face communication between leaders and their people breaks down barriers and builds trust. What you can see in a person’s eyes or other body language can be revealing. While technology can be effective at times, it will never replace human contact for discovery and inspiration.

The most impactful leaders are adept listeners, and don’t allow their egos to become roadblocks. When egos are alive and well, listening ceases, effective coaching environments disappear, and organizations suffer.

Here are three recommendations that can help you raise the bar on your ability to coach others.Effective one-on-one coaching is one of the most important skills a great leader must possess. Click To Tweet

1. Create a positive and open environment for communication

People listen to and follow leaders they trust. They engage in meaningful dialog with people they trust. They are not afraid to disagree with people they trust. Trust provides the foundation for a positive and open communication environment where connections between people can thrive.

When people connect, they learn about each other. They enable understanding of cultures, individual strengths and challenges. Knowing your people’s unique capabilities and desires helps focus on how to help them be successful.

Knowing your people also reduces the probability of promoting someone into a management position who does not want it or is not otherwise qualified. Not all physicians want to be managers. Not all sales people want to be sales managers. Not all technicians want to be a shop foreman. The costs can be exorbitant to an organization that wrongly promotes someone into a management position.

There are three questions that can help establish this open line of communication: What is on your mind? What can I do for you? What do you think? How am I making your life more difficult? When asked with the genuine interest, people respond with more honesty.

Meet with your people regularly helps break down barriers. Not just in your office, but on the manufacturing floor, outside the operating room, in the cafeteria, or the warehouse. Talk to folks outside the work area like the jogging track, grocery store or the kid’s soccer game. The informal sessions can be wonderful enablers of opening the line of communication.

2. Establish agreed upon goals and strategies to achieve

Most people want to know what success looks like. They want to be clear in their goals as an individual and, if appropriate, the leader of a team. Well-defined, measurable, relevant goals on paper help people gain clarity on success for them. Assigning responsibility with authority helps inspire an individual’s commitment to be successful.

Success also includes how to reach their goals. Strategies are developed and agreed upon by the manager and team member so that both understand each other’s roles. The probability of success increases dramatically when strategies and accountabilities are well defined.

3. Enforce accountability by assessing performance

There are many and significant consequences when people are not held accountable for achieving goals or otherwise performing to standard. Integrity disappears. Discipline erodes. Morale evaporates. Leaders are not taken seriously. Problem employees become a cancer in the organization. The best people leave. Results are not achieved.

Effective coaching demands assessment of performance. Without this assessment, no system of accountability will be achieved. If the senior leader does not hold his or her executive team accountable, subordinate leaders are likely to think “Why should I?”

Consistent, regularly scheduled coaching sessions with your people are the key to ensuring effective follow-up assessments to celebrate successes and identify areas to improve.

Summary

Coaching session agendas will vary based on a variety of conditions. A good place to start is outlined below.

First, review the individual goals and those of the organization. Ensure alignment of both to clarify where the individual is contributing to the mission of the organization.

Second, discuss what is going well. Where do both the coach and the individual agree on successes? Provide positive recognition for achievements where important.

Third, discuss the challenges or areas for improvement. Underwrite honest mistakes in the pursuit of excellence so people can learn. Determine how you as the manager can help. Gain a clear understanding of the shortfall in the individual’s ability and desire to achieve the goal and what resources or assistance the individual needs to be successful. When unsatisfactory performance occurs, managers must address it. Leaders who never take action to remove an underperformer are doing a great disservice to their institution. All too often, good people serving in leadership positions fear the task of confrontation. They hope, magically, that something will happen which will turn the underperformer around and all will be well in the end. Hope is not a strategy; the magic seldom happens. Your goal as a leader and coach is to inspire a willingness to succeed. When coaching, it is often easier to criticize and find fault. Think before you speak—find ways to praise.

Fourth, as the manager, seek suggestions for how you can be a more effective leader for them. This question can change the dynamic of the coaching session and can provide powerful feedback for the manager in his or her quest to be the best they can be. Doing so will enhance their trust in you and help build confidence in their own capabilities.

Remember, effective one-on-one coaching can be the catalyst for attracting and retaining the best people, and that will ultimately help your organization to unprecedented results.

 Jeff Foley is a recognized speaker, executive leadership coach, and author of Rules and Tools for Leaders. He is a West Point graduate and retired as a Brigadier General having served thirty-two years in the Army. Drawing on his unique military experience, Jeff uses his singular insight to build better leaders. For more information on Jeff Foley, visit www.loralmountain.com.

The New Super Heroes: Introducing The Intangibles

By Baldwin Tom

Baldwin Tom-spiritual investmentsThere are seven capital investments available for organizations to build value and wealth. These capital investments are Human, Relationship, Spiritual, Customer, Organizational, Physical, and Financial.

In the 1980 winter Olympics in Lake Placid, the U.S. Men’s Ice Hockey team won the gold medal. In order for them to win gold, they had to beat the Soviet Union team ranked 1 in the world. They beat the Soviets on their way to winning the gold in a game that was called the Miracle on Ice. The odds against them winning were the same as if the University of California football team beat the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl champions. Impossible!

How did this happen? One can assume that it was not because they skated better than the Soviets. The U.S. team was composed of college students and the Soviets were semi-professionals. Instead, it was some intangible force. Here is a clue: The U.S. coach invested heavily on the intangible side into the team members. He instilled in them aspects of Human, Relationship, and Spiritual capitals. The team took to heart what they heard—they believed.

The result of the infusion of these capitals was a powerful Return on Investment of some psychic power that allowed the team to rise above expectations to beat the ‘unbeatable’ Soviet team. The effort by the U.S. team was considered by the International Ice Hockey Federation as the most incredible international ice hockey story in the last 100 years! There is power investing in intangibles.

Of the seven investments available to organizations, the five people-side investments are the most interesting. Three of these can be considered as the new super heroes powering success in organizations—The Intangibles. The three are Human, Relationship, and Spiritual investments.

These three set up the other investments and the organization for success. They clear the way, they prepare the path, they set the stage, they provide the spark, and they stay the course to provide significant multipliers for high ROI.Character comes from the inside. Invest in people and their relationships to build strong teams. Click To Tweet

The Intangibles, when deployed as investments, create energy and activate others toward positive action. Each of the three super heroes has distinct personalities based on their actions. Each has unique powers in what they initiate in others.

Each one will leverage existing opportunities to benefit the organization and to increase ROI from their efforts. The Intangibles interact with each other and with different other investment combinations to create value and wealth for organizations.

Super Hero 1. Human capital investments: Invest in the capabilities of people, their knowledge, skills, and competencies.

Human investments possess a driver type personality. Their uniqueness is in their direct action on people to energize, encourage, and support work. The actions may involve new education, advanced training, and psychological support.

Through activities of human capital investments, people are more able and prepared to take on new tasks and to be more creative and innovative. From this, people are more satisfied with their work and look forward to new challenges. Accordingly, the investment of human capital generates positive ROI.

When human capital investments are teamed with customer investments it leads to creativity and innovation and new products and services. When this investment is teamed with Organizational investments, it leads to new intellectual property and corporate memory. When Human capital investments are teamed with Relationship investments it creates high performance teams.

Super Hero 2. Relationship capital investments: Link people together for interactions that leverage power and influence.

Relationship capital investments involve influencer type personalities. The strength of this investment is focused on people—in linking people together. Relationship capital investments help build meaningful interactive groups, create bonding of personnel, and foster can-do mindsets. Relationship investments effectively build strength through numbers.

High performing teams result from the activities of Relationship capital investments. The results from Relationship investments include facilitated and accelerated actions throughout the organization and with customers and a boost in ROI.

When Relationship capital investments are teamed with Customer investments, this leads to partnering with customers. When this investment is teamed with Spiritual capital investments, it leads to satisfied people willing to work hard for the organization.

Super Hero 3. Spiritual capital investments: Establish cultural norms that smooth work flow and facilitate people and customer relationships.

Spiritual capital investments have social type personalities. This Super Hero is not demanding or pushy. Spiritual capital is subtle but significant when in place. It’s a lot like spraying WD-40 on all work because the result of Spiritual capital is a smoother and easier effort in getting work done.

he efforts of Spiritual capital investments are to support the personal side of peoples’ efforts that engender peace of mind and a sense of accomplishment, of satisfaction. The result of this is that people feel valued leading to higher personal motivation and willingness to contribute more.

When Spiritual investments are teamed with Organizational investments, the results lead to refining cultural norms and ethical decision making. When Spiritual capital investments are paired with Relationship investments, it leads to an ethical workplace that fosters positive group chemistries and greater resiliency within an organization.

When Spiritual capital is teamed with Human capital it promotes caring and committed people, willing to go the extra mile. When Spiritual investments are teamed with Customer investments, the result fosters value-based customer relations

Investing on the soft-side intangibles provides the intestinal fortitude to overcome internal and external challenges. Character comes from the inside. Invest in people and their relationships to build strong teams. Invest in team-focused spiritual capital to build loyalty and bonding, resulting in strong character. When opportunities arise or challenges surface, the people will do whatever it takes to help move the ball forward. Focusing on the intangibles strengthens an organization, giving it a solid core and foundation.

In 1990, the Wallace Company won the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Started in 1987, the award has been given annually to up to three U.S. companies who have implemented successfully quality management systems. Surprisingly, just two years after the award, Wallace filed for bankruptcy.

Following the award, instead of working to turn around an already troubled company, top Wallace officials spent time leading tours through their offices and leaving town on speaking tours. Clearly Wallace did everything it could to win the award. Yet, in the end, they lost it all. There is a lesson here. What did they invest in and what did they miss investing in? It’s possible that they did not invest sufficiently in the intangibles. They needed The Intangibles!

Baldwin Tom is a management consultant, professional speaker, and author of 1+1=7: How Smart Leaders Make 7 Investments to Maximize Value. A medical school scientist, professor, leadership program developer, and founder of an award winning science and technology firm, he leverages his experiences in those fields to provide insight and strategies to fit client needs. Baldwin is a Certified Management Consultant and served as the National Board Chair of the Institute of Management Consultants USA. For more information on Baldwin Tom, please visit www.geoddgroup.com.

Giving Yourself Permission Slips to Succeed

By Sarah Bateman

Joan was sitting at a round table when a hand descended over her right shoulder and slapped a piece of paper down on the wooden surface. A permission slip lay before her. Joan wondered, “Why do I need a permission slip?” She glanced up at her colleague, Cheryl, who said, “It’s a permission slip. You’ve been thinking about honing your presentation skills for decades. Why haven’t you?”

“Why hadn’t I?” Joan thought. She was right. It was her choice to dream but never act. It was her choice to exist but never take the risks to improve her life. Joan was expected to give presentations at work. Her presentation style was somewhat lacking—she sometimes appeared nervous, and it was obvious to others that it wasn’t an area in which she was particularly confident.

Joan noticed that her self-limiting routines and beliefs were affecting both her personal and professional life. She had to remember that her presence was significant and she began creating her own permission slips to succeed.

1. Her first permission slip to becoming significant and successful was allowing herself to do make mistakes. This is the natural growth and learning process when we’re children. If you’re not willing to allow yourself to do something badly you are not allowing yourself to change—you are not allowing yourself to grow. You are not allowing yourself to master new skills.

Do you feel uncomfortable placing yourself in unfamiliar situations? Have you avoided seeking new responsibilities at work because you didn’t want to look foolish? Research shows that it is important to become perpetual beginners. This is especially true as we age. Learning new skills makes you more flexible and ready to compete in this chaotic world. Successful working professionals are willing to become a beginner over and over again. They are willing to let go of being the expert.

There are strategies which can help you undertake new challenges. One is to break your routine. Do you find yourself on autopilot often? Are your day’s carbon copies of each other? Set the intention to try something new. You might speak up more in a meeting, or seek new functionalities at work. Find a friend or coworker to support you. Learning to say no when appropriate gives you more control over your life so you don’t overextend yourself. It is a way of learning to respect yourself. Click To Tweet

2. Joan’s second permission slip to becoming successful and significant was letting herself be heard and seen. She was practically non-existent during her early years at the office. Her first presentation was a moment of silence—she literally could not speak. Her struggles with connecting at work or in networking situations were drastically impacting her professional life. She needed to give herself the permission slip to speak up, and speak with confidence.

How would being seen and heard change your business life?. Would you gain more respect from those around you? Would you be able to build trust and relationships? If you are not seen and heard, you are not known—and opportunities and promotions will pass you by because you don’t stick out in people’s minds.

Deciding to be seen and heard can take courage. One way to begin is to set your intention before you attend a meeting or meet a client. Know what you want to contribute. Know what ideas you would like to share. In a meeting make sure you speak up early. The longer you wait to speak the harder it will be. Make eye contact with others in the room and use open body language. Be sure you are not creating a barrier between yourself and anyone else in the room. Remember: you want to be accessible at this time. Celebrate your victories so the next time it will be easier for you to speak up.

3. Joan’s third permission slip to becoming successful and significant was learning to say no. In the office she was very accommodating.—the supervisors loved her. Basically she never said no. They got into the habit of bringing her rush files, just before 5:00 PM. They would drop them at her desk and head home. Joan learned how important it was to shorten her yes list. Do you have too many Yeses in your life?

Have your forgotten the benefits of saying no? Learning to say no when appropriate gives you more control over your life so you don’t overextend yourself. It is a way of learning to respect yourself which will lead to others respecting you as well. Saying no gives you more time to yourself which is a precious commodity in today’s chaotic world. You will have more energy and time so when opportunities appear you will be available to take them. When you have time to yourself you have time to determine your priorities and make better decisions which cut down on daily stress.

Before saying yes ask yourself these following questions.

1)         Is this something I truly want to do?
2)         What am I saying no to if I say yes to this?
3)         What will I gain by going to this event or doing this task?
4)         When I need help will this person reciprocate?
5)         If I don’t do this how will I used my time instead?

If you decide to say no to someone, let them know as quickly as possible so they can made other plans. Maybe you can help the other person out by suggesting an alternative.

What aren’t you giving yourself permission to do?

What are the dreams which have escaped you until now? Since Joan began following her three permission slips she began enjoying her work life more. By allowing herself to make mistakes she felt less pressure to be perfect. She gained the confidence to learn new skills which made her more valuable to the team. When she began speaking up at meetings she learned that she had good ideas to contribute. She was more valued by the team. When Joan said no to excess, unexpected work she was able to focus on her responsibilities. If you’re struggling like Joan was, write yourself her three permission slips. They will better your work life, and make you a more valuable contributor to the team.

Sarah Bateman is a widely-recognized speaker, coach, and author of, Speak Up! Be Heard! Finding My Voice. Drawing upon her own experiences at crafting, honing, and delivering presentations, Sarah aids entrepreneurs and businesspeople to develop a focused message which is relatable, memorable, and succinct. A longstanding member of Toastmasters International, Sarah holds the Distinguished Toastmaster Designation. For more information about Sarah Bateman, please visit: www.SpeakUp-BeHeard.com.

Preparation Breeds Confidence: Four Strategies to Prepare for Success

By Jill J. Johnson, MBA

Most people want to take shortcuts; however, the more thorough your preparation, the greater the likelihood is that you will have success. Preparation is essential to having confidence in yourself no matter what setting you are in—this will build your confidence when you are in high pressure situations such as interviewing for a job or dealing with higher-level bosses.

It takes time to build your skills to a deep level of mastery. It does not happen overnight. With practice, you will build deeper awareness of yourself. You will develop greater confidence. You will demonstrate your emerging growth in mastering your new skill. This preparation will prepare you to maximize your opportunities for success.

1) Daily Efforts are Essential for Success

If you aspire to leadership in any area of your career, you need to invest time in each of the many components required to be effective. By engaging in your practice on a daily basis, you create a more manageable method to prepare yourself for success.

Breaking your skill development down into smaller components so you can practice your progressions in more manageable chunks is essential. This is especially true with all the demands we have on our time and attention.

Each day you must determine at a micro level what you need to do to be prepared for your advancement to your next level of success. How you then practice those required skills is your preparation.

As you elevate, your opportunities will get tighter. Fewer people move on to reach the highest-level leadership roles. Those who decide they will progress to higher rungs of success figure out a path to get there, and beyond. They’re confident in what they know because they are prepared.

2) Build Your Skills Before You Need Them

You know the saying, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” It is so true. If you’re not prepared, you won’t have any confidence in yourself when the opportunity to move forward toward your dreams presents itself.

You must always be preparing so you have developed your skills before you need them. To be prepared to progress to a level beyond where you are now, you need to look ahead. Pay attention to what others at that level are doing. Ask yourself, “What else is going to be needed from me as I move up to my next level of success?”

You can practice your skill development anywhere—at home, at school, in your job, in a church group. You can even practice while you are interacting with your children, shopping at the grocery store or coaching soccer. Anywhere.

Finding opportunities to practice new skills are all around you. You should plan to practice your new skills both inside and outside of work.

3) Volunteering Accelerates Your Preparation For Success

You probably think you are too busy to volunteer for a leadership role in an association, community group or non-profit organization. Work and family responsibilities likely leave very little room in your schedule for taking on any kind of outside leadership role. Yet this view limits your opportunities to accelerate your potential for success. The truth is, engaging in volunteer leadership experience can have an exceptional impact on your entire career.

By agreeing to serve in any leadership role, you will have an opportunity to practice skills you need to work on and helps you gain exposure to new skills you will need for long-term career success. Confidence comes to you faster when you practice in a lower risk environment when you volunteer.

Whatever you need to practice, you can do this when you volunteer. You can practice some element of a skill you will need to prepare for your next promotion. You can use a volunteer role to practice speaking up with confidence.

Your confidence will compound because you will have multiple opportunities to develop your expertise. Volunteering allows you a venue to learn to work more effectively with different generations. You will expand your network of contacts, as well.Make the effort to find people who can provide you with new insights about other possibilities you may not have considered. Click To Tweet

4) Working Through Learning Curves

As you build your skills, you will have learning curves. There will be times when you’re going to fumble and bumble. Mistakes happen to everyone. You must always be willing to learn from the experience. No matter what the skill, you will need to practice.

Sometimes you’ll blow it. It’s okay. Chalk it up to a learning curve. Resolve to do better next time. Don’t make a habit out of the failure. Don’t let a mistake or lack of expertise shatter you. Move forward and learn from it.

You cannot take big leaps toward success unless you first take small leaps to build your confidence. The success you learn in those leaps compounds over time. By repeatedly testing yourself, and by preparing yourself for your next opportunity to win, you’ll be ready because you’re practicing and you are progressing in your skill development. These two confidence keys are now intertwined.

Final Thoughts

Always have an ongoing focus as you practice. This will deeply embed your skills so you can call on them with growing ease every time you need them. Then you can work on mastering them to develop your skills to a highly refined degree of finesse.

Consider how you will prepare for your next level of success. To consistently move forward, you need to intentionally develop new skills and probe for deeper insights of understanding as the issues you address become more complex. The search to understand what it will take to propel you toward your next leadership challenge never stops. Each one is a progression for you.

Make the effort to find people who can provide you with new insights about other possibilities you may not have considered. As you see the greater possibilities for your life, you will begin searching for opportunities to make them real. As you practice and prepare for your future, you will build more confidence, and the sky can be your limit.

Jill J. Johnson is the President and Founder of Johnson Consulting Services, a highly accomplished speaker, an award-winning management consultant, and author of the bestselling book Compounding Your Confidence. Jill helps her clients make critical business decisions and develop market-based strategic plans for turnarounds or growth. Her consulting work has impacted more than $4 billion worth of decisions. She has a proven track record of dealing with complex business issues and getting results. For more information on Jill J. Johnson, please visit www.jcs-usa.com.

Serve This, Not That…

Five Things You Need to Know About Planning a Menu for your Next Business Meeting

 By Tracy Stuckrath

In the past when you scheduled a business meeting you had pizza delivered or ordered sandwiches from the local deli. Sometimes you splurged by taking the group out to a local restaurant. It was never a concern about what was offered or served to the group.

As someone in charge of planning a company function these days, however, ignoring the needs of your employees or clients could potentially send some to the hospital or break a sale. David learned this when he was preparing for a lunch presentation and had a couple of new consultants at his client’s firm.

He had started a practice of sending the standard, gluten-free and vegan menus to his clients “to let people figure out what they would like to eat instead of getting stuck with another round of pizza or sandwiches.” He had heard one of the new guys was hard to get along with. Little did David know, that by sending over different menus, he was able to meet the new person’s dietary needs and that a consultant didn’t have to sit through the presentation watching everyone enjoy their lunches while he was “eating his second piece of lettuce.”

Sending over the multiple menus for him to choose from also allowed a relationship to begin on a positive note and he has since worked with him on other projects and has shared some of his own experience with food issues that his daughter was being tested for—win-win all the way around.

The number of people adhering to specific diets these days is increasing daily. From paleo to keto, food allergies to diabetes, celiac disease to veganism, cancer to halal, your employees, customers and potential clients may well be following a special diet.

Reasons for the increase in requests include:

  • Rotating location of events to different parts of the world
  • Increased international attendance and diverse, global workforces
  • Increase in chronic disease and aging workforce
  • Kosher attendees are asking for accommodation
  • Rise in food allergies
  • More attendees are choosing to eat vegetarian or vegan
  • Diverse religious dietary requirements
  • Growing acceptance of alternative diets
  • General desire to eat healthier

No matter the reason, understanding and accommodating the dietary needs of your employees and customers should be considered standard practice for anyone planning a meeting or event. But with so many requests, how do you if know if you can serve this and not that?By taking a few extra steps to ensure their personal enjoyment, safety and health is valuable and showcases your professionalism. Click To Tweet

1. Know the Needs

Managing the multitude of requests can be challenging at best, but understanding the basic guidelines for the most prevalent requests can go a long way.

Food Allergies: More than 120 foods are known to cause allergic reactions, but eight foods cause 90 percent of all allergic reactions—milk, egg, wheat, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish and fish—by touching, ingesting, or inhaling. Food allergies can be fatal, so it’s important to take these requests seriously, and ensure your catering partners do too.

Medical Conditions: There are a variety of other medical conditions that are managed through diet—celiac disease/gluten sensitivity, diabetes, Crohn’s, diverticulitis, heart disease, cancer and obesity. Although they may not be immediately life threatening like food allergies, they can trigger serious health issues that take your attendees away from your meeting.

Lifestyle Preferences: More than 27 million people follow a vegetarian-inclined diet. Millions of others are eating gluten-free, paleo, raw, macrobiotic or vegan. The reasons for doing so can be personal, moral or health-related. No matter what the reason, meeting hosts need to appreciate and accept their preferences.

Religious & Cultural Practices: One third of the world population follows a religious-based diet, so knowing attendee demographics is important. Some may choose to eat vegan or vegetarian when traveling, but others may require a certified meal. And some religious diets vary based on the calendar and the time of day.

2. Planning is Critical

Managing food restrictions and needs can be cumbersome, but a little extra planning and forethought can go a long way.

Ask your attendees about their dietary needs when inviting them. If you have online registration, be specific by using check boxes—not fill-in-the-blank boxes—which leave room for assumptions that could potentially be fatal. Otherwise, give attendees a way to inform you of their needs.

Talk to your attendees. If you have questions about their needs, call them. Put them in touch with the chef or restaurant directly. They’re the experts on their own needs, so who better to ask? Maybe they could even help plan the menu for everyone.

Communicate with your caterer(s) in advance—not hours, but at least a week before, if possible. The earlier your catering partner knows, the more time they have to incorporate the needs into the overall menu or provide quality options. Also ensure the necessary safety steps are being taken in preparing, cooking and serving food. Cross-contact in the kitchen and the front of the house can be fatal.

3. Offer Fresher, More Nutritious Options

While chain restaurants are now required by law to provide nutrition information about the food they sell, ordering food from a local restaurant that makes their food from scratch allows for easier identification of ingredients and to make any necessary adjustments for dietary needs.

4. Foster an Inclusive Environment

The ideal inclusive environment has long been meant to allow individuals to bring their true and authentic selves to work. However, most inclusion efforts do not address dietary needs.

For example, an Indian man accepted the chicken salad plate presented to him at lunch because he did not want to ask for a vegetarian meal. Instead he ate the romaine lettuce the chicken salad was placed on. John, a vegan who was interning at a company who offered him a job upon graduation was partaking in the intern pizza lunch. When he was not eating the pizza, he was asked why not. Instead of asking if a vegan pizza could be ordered, he ate his vegan protein bar.

5. No Longer Just a Matter of Good Guest Relations

In 2008, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) was amended to clarify and broaden that definition of the word “disability,” thus expanding the number and types of persons protected under the ADA, including individuals with food allergies, celiac disease, and other conditions that affect their ability to eat.

At meetings that are either a requirement or benefit of employment, a reasonable meal accommodation must be provided to meet an employee’s dietary need(s) or it can be seen as discriminating against the employee for their disability. The ADAAA protection also extends to any events held in places of public accommodation, such as restaurants, hotels, convention and conference centers.

In conclusion

As a meeting host, you’re responsible for bringing people together from around the world to share an experience. While at your meeting, they are in, in an essence, under your care. You have taken on the commitment to plan their meals and their experience. And, as such, you’re responsible for the health, safety and well-being.

By taking a few extra steps to ensure their personal enjoyment, safety and health is valuable and showcases your professionalism.

As founder and chief connecting officer of Thrive!, Tracy Stuckrath helps organizations worldwide understand how food and beverage (F&B) affects risk, employee/guest experience, company culture and the bottom line. As a speaker, consultant, author and event planner, she is passionate about safe and inclusive F&B that satisfies everyone’s needs. She has presented to audiences on five continents and believes that food and beverage provide a powerful opportunity to engage audiences on multiple levels. For more information about Tracy, please visit: www.thrivemeetings.com.