Just Act Like a Kindergartener

Recently, I attended two 4-hour, cross-discipline, cross-agency (WPP, of course) integration meetings—and the amazing thing about these meetings was that all participants left feeling invigorated and actually craving more. What were originally intended to be quarterly meetings have now turned into monthly meetings with everyone jazzed about going. (And we all know that with all of the meetings we have in corporate America, you don’t often hear folks asking for more lengthy meetings.)

After attending the second of these fabulous meetings, I knew the first one wasn’t a fluke. Because of this, I began wondering what it is that makes these meetings so successful. After a little thought, it occurred to me that basic principles we learned in kindergarten are what made these meetings a success.

Raise your hand. Holding an integration meeting is all about collaboration. Although we no longer need to raise our hands to be heard, we all want to participate. Our meeting held a brainstorming session in which we broke into cross-discipline teams to generate ideas to overcome a current brand challenge. We were all able to get involved and unite to help solve a common problem.

Share your toys. In corporate America we may not have toys, but we all have best practices and solutions that we can share with one another. The agency handling the professional business brought in a new and fairly aggressive tactic that was recently approved through med/reg. This new tactic was being rolled out to the field, and those of us from other disciplines could leverage their insights, learnings, and even their work.

Host a show and tell. Well, this principle speaks to having guest speakers―those individuals who can share their experiences first-hand. During our second meeting, we had the pleasure of meeting a patient with rheumatoid arthritis and a practicing rheumatologist. We heard first-hand accounts of the patient’s struggles with his disease, its impact on his life and family, and his magnificent recovery since being on our brand. We also were able to hold a Q&A with the rheumatologist.

Gather for story time. We all remember story time from our days in kindergarten. During our integration meetings, each agency shares stories about jobs we are working on, and we seek input from our colleagues so we can produce the most innovative and best quality work for our clients. We also leverage insights and work to enhance efficiencies for the brand.

Perhaps these thoughts came to me simply because I have a daughter who is in kindergarten (thank you, Tori!), but I believe they apply. So the next time you’re in what’s intended to be a collaborative meeting, but instead find yourself staring at a PowerPoint® presentation accompanied by the droning of a well-meaning colleague…I say just act like a kindergartener!


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