The 8-Hour Meeting I’m Glad I Didn’t Miss


Wait, what?! An eight-hour meeting? Kill me now…

Ok, so maybe I didn’t enjoy the entire thing. After all, it was QBR day, time for quarterly business reviews, an opportunity to review why sales directors did or didn’t hit quota last quarter and how they’d plan to meet plan in the coming quarter. It’s about as exciting as it sounds, and after you’ve heard the same presentation a couple times, the remainder of the day feels like the movie Groundhog Day, although significantly less entertaining.

But something about this day was different.

It was the first time anyone in that room had been part of the team and not hit target. On past QBR days, our CEO had done a quick intro, patted everyone on the back for a job well done, and challenged the group to do even better in the upcoming quarter. Then he’d continue on with his day. This time, no one knew what was coming. As the start time neared, you could feel the tension in the room, like a balloon reaching max capacity right before it pops in your face — ouch.

John Marshall entered the room. As he did, laptops closed and faces looked up (when the man who built a $1.54B company talks, you listen). As John began his impassioned pitch, he was upfront and candid. He didn’t sugarcoat the fact the team had had a lackluster performance and been bailed out by the successes of other regions around the world. Instead of spending the entire time criticizing the group, though, he took this opportunity to remind us all of where we had been, how the landscape had changed, and how we’d need to adapt to reach our lofty, yet attainable growth goals. He reminded us that hard work is what would get us there, and most importantly, he reminded us what hard work looks like.

As he rattled through the list of things he did to become an entrepreneurial success, I realized that these words were more powerful than anything I learned in school and worth all 8 hours I’d spend in that meeting. His advice?

  • Take good notes
  • Research thoroughly
  • Have the will to practice to win, not just the will to win
  • Build rapport with people by communicating in person rather than via email or text
  • Plan your day and week —
    • Don’t let your inbox plan your time
    • Realize it’s okay to put off other less important tasks to accomplish big things instead
  • Lead by example —
    • Invest in yourself
    • Prioritize your time
    • Do the basics right
    • Learn new skills
    • Stop bitching
    • Be a mentor
    • Get a mentor
    • Stay humble and hungry

Wow! What an incredible reminder that there is no single, silver bullet on the path to success. Instead, work (and life) is about taking action, not hoping or trying, but actually doing. No matter how small or inane a single task may seem, when coupled together, our actions can make a significant impact and lead us to phenomenal success.

I’m incredibly grateful for this insight and review the list often to ensure I’m still on the right path to creating a better version of myself.

What’s the best career/life advice you’ve received? What else would you add to this list?


Photo credit: ♥ jules via / CC BY-SA

One thought on “The 8-Hour Meeting I’m Glad I Didn’t Miss

  1. It’s so true!! You can’t get anywhere in life if you don’t take action. And even small mundane actions have the potential to make big waves in the future!

    One I really like is don’t wait until you feel like you know everything to take action. Even if you’re not 100% ready, it’s beneficial to jump off because you will continue to learn as you go. When you spend so much time preparing to take action, sometimes you miss out on great opportunities.

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