“The Lonely Genius is a Myth” & How to Hold Successful Meetings: Caterina Kostoula

“The Lonely Genius is a Myth” & How to Hold Successful Meetings: Caterina Kostoula


Check out all episodes on the My Favorite Mistake main page.

My guest for Episode #85 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Caterina Kostoula. She is an executive coach and founder of The Leaderpath. Prior to The Leaderpath, Caterina was a Global Business Leader at Google where she managed some of the company's largest C-level partnerships. She was also an internal coach, awarded a 5-star-rating distinction from her coachees. Before Google, Caterina worked in advertising.

Caterina has coached leaders from Google, Amazon, Vodafone, WPP, Ferrero, ArcelorMittal, Workable, and several entrepreneurs. She collaborates with INSEAD, coaching Executive MBAs and alumni. She is a member of the Forbes Coaches Council.

She is the author of the book, released today, Hold Successful Meetings, published by Penguin Business.

Caterina has lived in more than seven countries across America, Europe, and Asia. She now lives in London. She writes about personal development on Forbes, Fast Company, and Thrive Global. In 2017, she was one of Medium’s top writers on self-improvement, life lessons, and relationships.

She holds an INSEAD MBA and an Executive Coaching Accreditation and MSc from Ashridge Business School. She has two young children and enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Topics and questions:

  • What is your favorite mistake?
    • Mistake: kept generating and making all of the decisions as a solopreneur
    • Lesson: Cannot make impact without a team – not just outsourcing
    • Mentor asked: What kind of leader do you want to be?
  • In theory, leaders want ideas… but there's subtle sabotage
  • Why write the book? Out of pain and frustration?
  • What does “successful” mean in context of meetings?
  • 4 reasons to have a meeting — 4Ds
  • Common mistakes related to meetings?
  • Mistakes with Virtual meetings?
    • More tiring — make them shorter, take breaks every 45 min
    • Interaction is harder – more interruption
    • Meetings need more structure as a countermeasure
    • Using breakouts
  • Quiz – how successful are your meetings?

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Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)

Mark Graban (0s):
Episode 85 Catarina Kostoula, author of the new book “Hold Successful Meetings.” Given

Caterina Kostoula (7s):
I've given my favorite mistake, a title. It's called “the lonely genius is a myth.”

Mark Graban (15s):
I'm Mark Graban. This is my favorite mistake in this podcast. You'll hear business leaders and other really interesting people talking about their favorite mistakes because we all make mistakes, but what matters is learning from our mistakes instead of repeating them over and over again. So this is the place for honest reflection and conversation, personal growth and professional success. Visit our website at myfavoritemistakepodcast.com. For show notes, links to Catarina's book and website, and more, go to markgraban.com/mistake85. Please follow rate and review. Thanks for listening.

Mark Graban (56s):
Our guest today is Catarina Kostoula. She is an executive coach she's founder of her company called The Leader Path. Prior to that, she was a global business leader at Google, where she managed some of the company's largest C-level partnerships. Catarina has lived in more than seven countries across America, Europe, and Asia. She now lives in London and you can learn more about Catarina at her website, the leader path.com. And I think this is exciting too. She's the author of the new book titled Hold Successful Meetings and who doesn't want to do that? So Catarina, thank you for joining us here today. How are you?

Caterina Kostoula (1m 36s):
I'm very well, thank you for having me.

Mark Graban (1m 38s):
Of course. So there's a lot we can talk about, I think here on the topic of meetings, but as we usually do here, I'm going to jump right in and ask you to tell a story, you know, looking back at your work and your career Catarina, what is your favorite mistake?

Caterina Kostoula (1m 54s):
Sure. I've given my favorite mistake, a title, which I will share to you with you. It's called the lonely genius is a myth. It's going to sound pretentious a little bit, but I think it's a good title. I use it for my talks now, and it's a good reminder for me and for the people I talk I work with as well. So I left Google in 2018 to build the leader path, my executive coaching company. And how was it a bit tired of the big company? As much as Google is more agile than a lot of companies. My vision was I will be free working on my own, having my own business.

Caterina Kostoula (2m 35s):
And I want, I want it to be a solopreneur. I was reading all this book, seven figure solopreneur, and my mistake was not that I didn't outsource things. I was outsourcing since the beginning. Like I got the accountant and the virtual assistant. My mistake was that I kept having all the ideas for my business and I kept making all the decisions for the business and the worst mistakes. As you probably know, as the ones that you don't realize, there are mistakes for a long time. And I was doing that. I was bringing people in the business, but I was still holding this idea generation and decision-making, and it was only when I started researching the book, the, the whole successful meetings I wanted to, to solve this problem for my clients.

Caterina Kostoula (3m 22s):
I was helping my clients split build teams, but I wasn't doing it in my business. Right. And it, it was a piece of research that helped me realize the mistake. And it was three professors in Northwestern University and they started for all scientific papers, 19 million of them over 50 years and more than 2 million patents. And what they found out was that the scientific papers submitted by a team were saw, were cited twice as often as that of individuals. And because of the, how robust the research was, the penny drops for me. I was like, I cannot have the impact. I want if I don't work in a team, not just outsourcing or having a transactional relationship with people, but really having a team around me.

Caterina Kostoula (4m 14s):
And I could say to you, Mark that after this, everything worked out and the team appeared and it was a happily ever after I think I needed, I shifted the, yes, I need to do this, but I was struggling in executing this. And I remember myself talking to my mentor and saying, it's not working. Like I'm now hiring this high, high pay, like high salary. People are high paying people and they're not performing. What's going, what am I doing wrong? Like I have this, my standards are too high. Like in the execution I was struggling. And it was my mentor who said, you know, you need to decide what leader you want to be. And it's funny because that wasn't my job. I coach leaders. Right.

Caterina Kostoula (4m 55s):
But, but because all my emotional energy and my empathy and was going towards the clients, it was not going towards the team. And it was only when I realized that, okay, I need to devote to my team the same attention and relationship building and rapport and holding an empathy that I was dedicating to my clients of X actually managed to turn that mistake around. And it was delightful. Well, the first time that an idea for the business didn't come from me and someone brought all the issue or brought an idea that I hadn't think about it a bit. And it sounds funny because it was delightful. Like the, the F the work became so much more fun, they impact increased.

Caterina Kostoula (5m 37s):
So that, that was my favorite mistake. And I let you ask any questions if you wish.

Mark Graban (5m 43s):
Sure. Well, thank you for sharing that. I've got some follow up questions. I think we can dig a little bit more into your, your circumstances and what you learned. I mean, I guess one reflection that comes to mind for me, I'm also a solo preneur. I often partner up with other companies and work as a affiliate or subcontractor to them, but, you know, thinking as a solo preneur for better, or for worse, a lot of it does. I feel like fall on me. I might ask my wife for input. I might ask a friend or another independent colleague for input, but it seems like it's just part of the nature of it, but can you share Catarina and example, more specifically when you said that first time you got an idea from somebody else, was that one of your, if you will contractors, or, or who, who was it?

Mark Graban (6m 34s):
What was that scenario?

Caterina Kostoula (6m 36s):
Yes, it was my executive assistant the first time. And it was just having someone taking the initiative and that like, because I had onboarded her more and I brought in, in the business have something and it was a symbol, or I think I wanted to, why don't you record with using an auto queue? It wasn't like something groundbreaking, but I remember I still remember it because I was like, oh yeah, that's a great idea. Or, or having this right-hand assistant, they something argument, and I'm not being a solopreneur. I think the future of work will be the gig economy.

Caterina Kostoula (7m 18s):
Right. And it's perfectly preferable. Like people want independence and they want flexibility, but how do we build strategic partners through this gig economy while we don't have employees, but we do have strategic contractors and pod partners. And also, I have to say the masterminds, like as a solopreneur, having this group, having the mentors, like I told you about my mentor before, and also having peers, group of peers that support you. So I, I totally, I know the journey of the solopreneur and I think it, it, it is a flexible way of working. I'm still, I'm still supporting it, but it's good not to be the only one doing the thinking.

Mark Graban (7m 60s):
Well, and I think of that scenario and it auto queue that that's a form of like a teleprompter type system. Yes, exactly. And so, you know, thinking of looking from the outside at you as a leader, in thinking about different organizations, there are some organizations and some leaders where, you know, somebody speaks up and has an idea, and that leader reacts in a way that either explicitly or more subtly says, well, that's not your job to have ideas. I'm just paying you to execute the tasks I'm giving you. And I, and I think it's a more evolved form of leadership to be open to the ideas of others and realize that, you know, you don't need to have all the ideas yourself.

Mark Graban (8m 44s):
I'm, I'm curious if that has, if, if you have thoughts about that as extended to some of the leaders that you coach, how do you help them be open to ideas? And, you know, I think a lot of times people shoot down ideas in a way that's subtle. It's a, it's a look, it's a reaction. It's a side light. I'm curious. How do you coach leaders through this idea of being open to ideas?

Caterina Kostoula (9m 8s):
Yes, I would say on the surface, everyone is open on or ideas, but subconsciously they're sabotaging them. So when leaders bring me in to work with them or their team, they say, I feel the weight of the world in my shoulders. I really want the team to step up. So I haven't met people saying, oh, I want to have all the ideas in, in, in theory, they do want the team to have ideas. But then when I interviewed the team members, the team members say, they're too scared to bring up the ideas. And I first came in contact with the concept of psychological safety while I was still working at Google. I must have heard of this Google research, 180 teams to figure out what would make them successful.

Caterina Kostoula (9m 53s):
And they just couldn't figure it out. Like they sold a individual performance, whether they were located in the same office, how they were making decisions, nothing mattered. They just couldn't crack the code of what made successful teams and different from unsuccessful until they stumbled up on the research on psychological safety. So it is the first thing I do when I work with the team. I would say even before a common purpose, I would work on psychological safety for first, because I think once you've sorted the psychological safety and psychological, well, what is psychological safety that you can take an interpersonal risk in the team that you can bring an idea. You can share a mistake like we're doing here.

Caterina Kostoula (10m 37s):
So going back to your question, how can they do that? Right? The first one is how the react, when the idea comes in or, or when a critical remark on criticisms government, like sometimes the ideas are welcomed, but sometimes when someone disagrees welcome everything is the first one, because people will learn from your reactions as a leader. The second is modal vulnerability. And you're the leader in this with this forecast. If, as a leader, you share a myth and mistake in the beginning and you make it okay for people to be wrong, then they can share ideas because you know, it's an idea. We don't know. Maybe it's a silly idea. Like when we have a groundbreaking idea, it seems silly that that's a fact, like if it was not, if it seemed reasonable, it wouldn't be groundbreaking.

Caterina Kostoula (11m 23s):
Right. Or people

Mark Graban (11m 24s):
Say, why didn't I think of this sooner? And they feel bad in a way.

Caterina Kostoula (11m 28s):
Yes. Yeah. W what you're mentioning now is some leaders that feel threatened actually, when people step up. So that's something that comes a lot of co in coaching as well. And then we need to work a little bit deeper on what's your role as a leader? Is it that comes up quite a lot in coaching. What would you what'd? You just said it comes up when someone has an idea, I should have come up with this. And really your job as a leader is to harness the creativity of your people. It's not necessarily to come with all the ideas yourself, but that's something you write comes up quite a lot in coaching. Yeah.

Mark Graban (12m 8s):
Yeah. And you mentioned, I think it's great. You bring up that phrase, psychological safety. I've had the chance in a different podcast series to interview a professor, Amy Edmondson from Harvard Business School, who has written a lot about psychological safety. And I remember her talking about her research. It was not just nurses and healthcare, but Google was one of the companies that was cited of the main variable that would identify a really high performing team was the level of psychological safety. So it's, it's, it's interesting now to run across you, who was on sort of the other side, you were, you were maybe the researched instead of the research.

Mark Graban (12m 48s):

Caterina Kostoula (12m 50s):
Exactly. Yes.

Mark Graban (12m 52s):
Yeah. So we'll, we'll, we'll I think, you know, when you take a deeper dive into the concept of meetings and, and your book, but one question that comes to mind is your thoughts on the effectiveness of meetings related to the level of psychological safety. If you've got meetings with a lot of people who don't know each other, are there things that you can or should do in a meeting to establish psychological safety? Or does it, is it not that easy? Does it take more time?

Caterina Kostoula (13m 23s):
I think you definitely need to do some things in a meeting, because if you don't do them in the meeting, when are you going to do them? Like, I think meetings are the best place to build that psychological safety, because it's, it's fallible time meetings because you have everyone at the same time together. Right? And I think paying attention to how you start the meeting is really important. And sometimes we'll just jump on the agenda because we're busy and let let's get to work. And we, but we think if we spend even five times in the beginning to center ourselves and connect at the human level, we think it's a waste of time, but it's not like there's a lot of research about this, that even five minutes of informal conversation in the beginning will make it a lot more effective later, or even they had two teams, one, they told them, share something you have in common in the beginning, and then negotiate.

Caterina Kostoula (14m 13s):
And the other's told them just work on the negotiation immediately. And only the teams that had something in common managed to find a solution and win-win solution in the negotiation. So I would say in the meeting to build psychological safety, so spend some time to connect at a personal level. And what, how, how do you connect it? You can either share something personal because that builds a little bit connection, human level vulnerable, depending on, on how, if the team is an experienced team being vulnerable in the beginning will help like share a, highlight a little light of the week. It doesn't have to be sheriffs or childhood traumas. It can be what was the highlight and the low light of, since we last met.

Caterina Kostoula (14m 54s):
So you actually make it okay for people to bring both positive and negative things in the meeting. These are some of the ways I would say quickly, you can establish more psychological safety. Yeah,

Mark Graban (15m 5s):
Yeah, no, you've got me thinking and reflecting. If a podcast episode is a meeting, and if I'm the one who called the meeting in a way, you, you raised some interesting points about establishing that trust and rapport. Now, you know, a lot of listeners might not know, but you know, Catarina. And I did a pre-call maybe a week ago. And I tried doing that with guests, not even so much about outlining the topics for the episode, but getting to know each other a little bit, or trying to at least establish some comfort and I make mistakes.

Mark Graban (15m 46s):
And when I do, I share them, maybe I should start every episode by sharing a mistake I've made, but hopefully, you know, I'm putting it on the spot because we're recording and there's people listening. But yeah, I, I hope I've created a safe environment for you to be forthcoming and open about that.

Caterina Kostoula (16m 5s):
And I was thinking about that before this podcast, because I'm doing podcasts right now because the book new, the new book is out. And right before we started, I was thinking of how much more comfortable I was feeling because I met you before, because not all broadcasters will do this pre-call and it wasn't a moment of vulnerability from my side when my four year old son crashed the goal and how you, it was okay. How you handle that as well. So I, I was thinking about that before we started. So I was a guest that can confirm this pre-call I think makes a huge difference of how comfortable your guests are.

Mark Graban (16m 41s):
Yeah. And I, I think there is this balance of efficiency. So, you know, part of me wants to re not, I mean, I do want to respect the time of you and other guests. Some guests are too busy or they're, they're not interested in doing the pre-call. So we, we do a short pre-call before we do the recording. It's it's, it's immediate and it's it's short, but yeah, there's a balance of, well, okay. Do you feel comfortable? Let's jump right in versus, you know, today, before we started recording, other than coming to the cursory, how's your day going so far? You know, it's tea time for Catarina in London.

Mark Graban (17m 23s):
I don't, you know, so anyway, I, I, I don't think we started it off badly, but you raised a good question of, you know, spending a couple of minutes, chit chatting, if you will, making small talk, builds, comfort and rapport. I, I take your point that that's not a waste of time. So the engineer in me who sometimes is very wired toward efficiency and making good use of time that that could trip me up. Sure. I can see where that would cause problems. So with the book, and again, the book is called hold successful meetings. Yeah. Catarina, what's the story. I'm always interested to talk to an author and say, well, what was the spark of motivation?

Mark Graban (18m 4s):
You know, that, that led you to say, I should write a book. I want to write a book. I'm definitely going to write a book because it's a big undertaking. There are many books out there on meetings already. What was your inspiration for doing this?

Caterina Kostoula (18m 18s):
Sure. First of all, I think I suffered through my corporate career through a lot of ineffective in boring meetings. I found myself bored in meetings and it could be because I was always in a global role. And I had a lot of virtual meetings even many years ago. Now virtual meetings are the norm, but back then, I think all my, most of my meetings were virtual, but we didn't know how to do virtual meetings. So it was a pain point for me, like I was bored. And then I started coaching my clients and they suffered like, were back-to-back calls. They didn't have time to do their own work, but I also started coaching teams and I loved it. So I think it was the contrast of I hated meetings.

Caterina Kostoula (19m 1s):
But then when I was coaching teams and bring that together and working on purpose and all this psychological safety, and then we're doing work with them, I loved it. They loved it. They were looking forward to the team coaching session. And so w I got me curious. I said, okay, Tim coaching sessions are also meetings. What's the difference here? Why? And you've, we've all have experienced where there are meetings. We, we dread and there are some type of meetings that we're really looking forward to. And I wanted to explore what this difference was. And could I actually solve this issue? I think that was motivated through my own bad experiences and, and my clients might experience this.

Caterina Kostoula (19m 44s):
And I think it's a big enough problem. And it painful enough problem to, I said, it's worth for me starting this and bringing all my team coaching techniques and giving them to leaders to hold successful meetings. Yeah.

Mark Graban (19m 58s):
So thinking about that one word for the title, the word from the title, how do you define successful or how should people hosting or participating in a meeting define successful?

Caterina Kostoula (20m 12s):
It's a good question. So I, three, I have three pillars of the book and the first is purpose. What is the purpose of the meeting? And I have a framework and I, my framework is I argue that there are only four reasons to have a meeting it's called the 14 meeting framework. And it's to define a goal or a problem to develop ideas, to decide or do something and do either in the meeting or inspire someone to do something. So it's the four D's. So a successful meetings is the one that achieves the purpose. And the purpose I argued should be one of those four days. Like I'm not into meetings for updating.

Caterina Kostoula (20m 52s):
You can do that. A synchronously. There's so many apps for that right now, the second pillar is people, okay. Yes. You need to achieve the purpose. How, how do you bring the best out of the people in the meeting? And that's where inclusion, psychological safety, or even yourself, right? How do you show up best in your meeting? So that's the second pillar of the book. And the third is process, which is what we talked about, how you start the meeting, how you feel like some tips of how do you manage this process to be successful. So I would say what's the purpose of the meeting and also the, how, how you bring the people and leverage their brain power. Like a successful meeting is a meeting that manages to leverage everybody's brainpower rather than monologues or informational updates and things like that.

Mark Graban (21m 37s):
Yeah. Yeah. I dislike meetings when, like you said, it's just strictly sharing of information because part of me gets frustrated and this is, you know, different contexts. So I'm not picking on any one person or organization here. I, this phrase comes to mind and there are coffee mugs and there are probably t-shirts and it's been a popular phrase. “I think this meeting could have been an email.” When I think of different ways of communicating, you know, people could record a video and share it to be watched. As you said, asynchronously personally, I would prefer to read and scan the document.

Mark Graban (22m 22s):
I, I don't like it when somebody sends a video in lieu of an email, but there are some, you know, different people have different communication preferences, but yeah, I think that's, that's a really good point. This question around, or it seems like what you're saying is a meeting should be interactive, not just one way communication. I think back, I didn't watch the whole thing, but I saw a clip from the Golden Globe awards, which was very much a virtual event. And, and Tina Fey or Amy Poehler one, or both of them said this whole award show could have been an email, which just tapping in, tapping into that sentiment and in, in, in a funny way.

Mark Graban (23m 5s):
But yeah, I'm, I'm, I'm with you. I think that time spent together, whether that's in person or virtually is maximized. When could you go through the four DS again, debate discussion, or what, w w what were the four days again? Yes.

Caterina Kostoula (23m 23s):
Define a goal or a problem, as you know, would you like me? I'll go to all the four days. I can go deeper, define a problem, or a goal develop ideas, decide, or do. And these are steps in a design thinking process. As you know, like you cannot solve any problem. You don't, you need to define the problem, develop ideas, decide the way forward and do what you decided. So the 4D framework is I is to be clear why you're having the meeting, which one of the four days, and it could be one or more than one, but also in the meeting, if you have more than one, let's say we need to define a problem and develop ideas or develop ideas for a known problem, and then decide you do it in specific sections.

Caterina Kostoula (24m 6s):
So people actually know now we're developing ideas. So there's no decision, there's no implement. We don't talk about the implementation. We're not talking about which idea is better because that's converted, convergent thinking. Now we're in the develop idea stage, and this is what we're doing or not. We're defining the problem. Let's not talk about ideas right now. Let's see what the real problem is here. So the four D's can be objectives, or also can be steps in the meeting to align the participants or what we're doing right now. What stage are we on?

Mark Graban (24m 38s):
And it seems like being very clear and specific about that. It is useful having that model in front of people.

Caterina Kostoula (24m 46s):
Yes, because there was a Google report that said the biggest, what makes the biggest difference in meetings is knowing the objective in many meetings, we don't like all this status of dates and this weekly meetings, we have no idea what the objective is, but also because this prop steps in the process individually would jump around all the time. Like when we're thinking about individually, let's say what food I'll order tonight. I'll say maybe curry, but not curry because it's too spicy. And then you go, I need food that is not spicy or define the problem. So you're jumping around as an individual, but bring a group together to do that. It's chaos. That's why you're selling effective, right?

Caterina Kostoula (25m 27s):
Because what works well as an individual level, jumping through the Ds at the group level creates chaos. So it's a simple way to just guide them through the four Ds make sure they reach their destination.

Mark Graban (25m 42s):
Yeah. Yeah. That sounds very helpful. You know, you've, you've already brought up the idea of the reality of this past year. Many, many, many virtual meetings. Are there particular mistakes related to virtual meetings that you call it? It seems like your framework and your ideas that you've mentioned Catarina would apply just the same if we're in person versus remotely, but are there some lessons you've learned or mistakes you've made with virtual meetings this year?

Caterina Kostoula (26m 8s):
Yes. So I wrote the book during the pandemic. So I was late. I had to turn all my meetings and all my 18 coaching sessions online. I think mistakes are virtual meetings are more tiring. There's a lot more going on, tech issues, more, over a lot of information. So first of all, let's make them shorter. Let's have breaks, which a lot of people don't do. Like you need to have a break, at least every, like I, I have, when I'm doing group coaching sessions, minimum every like 45 minutes, we'll have stretch break. Like that's simple one it's the interaction is a lot harder. There's more interruptions.

Caterina Kostoula (26m 49s):
There's less turn-taking. So how do you work around that? As a meeting leader? I think they need more structure. So, because it's harder for people to contribute unless you created, let's go round robin round robin and round robin, not for updates, I'm really against the wrong role, but let's give up for opinion. Right? So the second will be, so first of all, shorter meetings, more structure and using the breakouts again, because it's harder to build this connection. And it, a big part of the meeting was going to the meeting, waiting for the meeting to start what happens in the break, all this socializing, unless you recreate it in a virtual environment, you will miss it.

Mark Graban (27m 33s):
Yeah. And again, Caterina's book is titled “Hold Successful Meetings.” It's from Penguin Business as the publisher and on your website, if you can share the URL for us, is this on theleaderpath.com you, you have a quiz

Caterina Kostoula (27m 54s):

Mark Graban (27m 54s):
Successful meetings. I'm sorry. Speaking of interruptions and online meeting awkwardness. Sorry.

Caterina Kostoula (28m 2s):
No, no. I got super excited about this. So I sent down to shares this because the issue is that the leader of the meeting rates the meeting better than the team normally. Yeah, because we, we talk more as if we're running the meeting and when you talk more you're enjoying or you're yourself. So another problem with the meetings who are not self-aware how successful are your meetings? So that's why I created a quiz to accompany the book. It's in a little bit.com/meetings. So you, it's a short quiz and you can get some personalized results. How successful are your meetings with some tips as well of how to make them better?

Mark Graban (28m 40s):
Yeah. As, as a coach, do you ever get brought in to be an observer? It seems like this would be a lot easier now with online meetings to be an observer. And then just after the fact give feedback to the leader of the meeting, to participants, do you do that?

Caterina Kostoula (28m 57s):
Yes. A lot of times. And it's a lot of fun.

Mark Graban (29m 0s):
Yeah. You get to peek in on other people's may you're, you're invited into the meetings. You're not zoom bombing. I'm sure. No, no. Yes.

Caterina Kostoula (29m 9s):
I'm invited it's part. It's an option. When I do team coaching, I interviewed the team and it's an optional, if they want me to observe a meeting and you'll always get a little bit about the interactions and the team dynamics. And I, I, I used like for the book I, I got, got a lot of, of my clients. I said, let's do this. I, I did like a mini meeting make-over for all of this, because I wanted to test ideas of the book specifically for their weekly meetings. Right. So I observed a lot of meetings, extra meetings for the book, and usually the feedback there most common, other than not having a clear outcome, it was not defining the problem early enough in the proxy.

Caterina Kostoula (29m 50s):
You'll be surprised because we were all have a bias to action. I work with a lot of tech period given my Google background. So we have, we want to get started and get things done. And what I realized is sometimes they were solving the wrong problem.

Mark Graban (30m 6s):
Yes, yes. I, I, that, that's something I recognize. And, you know, I know enough about design thinking to be dangerous like that, that, that approach from what I've learned about, it resonates with me, but there's a lot of similarity to frameworks. People might know of the lean startup methodology, or even more broadly you with my roots originally in the automotive industry, thinking about the Toyota Production System and the lean methodology, and one of the key lessons is stop jumping the solutions, make sure you understand the problem. And I think that's, that's really good advice when it comes to even diagnosing our meetings, because I'm sure a lot of books would be full of solutions instead of a framework for going through and looking and analyzing your own meetings.

Mark Graban (30m 53s):
That's that's what I'm sensing is, is more your approach that the book is not 101 solutions, right? It's more of a framework for figuring it out. And

Caterina Kostoula (31m 5s):
It's, it's not really about meetings, mark. Like I use meetings as the door because the book is all these Ds, right? That it is around leadership and how you bring people together to achieve a common purpose meeting is makes it tangible and specific as you do meetings as a leader. And it helped me hold all this, but how you help people be creative, which is the develop ideas, how you help people make decisions, how you make sure the team implements, or you inspire them to implement and how you build the psychological safety and the inclusion of the team. That's what we do like as any leader. So I think I use the meetings as the way, the practical way in to talk about leadership, because I think it's really hard for leaders.

Caterina Kostoula (31m 48s):
All, you need to be a better leader. I think it's boiling the ocean a little bit, but how well people

Mark Graban (31m 54s):
Don't want to hear that. I think they're great leaders.

Caterina Kostoula (31m 57s):
Yes, exactly. But how about this out few hours you are, you're having your day with your team. How about you make sure you optimize that. And that's the first domino that will have the hugest impact, right? It's the 20% that will have the 80% of the impact.

Mark Graban (32m 13s):
So the book is a Trojan horse, very cleverly time. Now the book is called Hold Successful Meetings. And you, you raised a really good point there. It's about leadership. It's about effectiveness and hopefully people will check the book out. So again, the author and our, our guest today it's been Catarina Kostoula. Her company is called the leader path and you learn more at her website, www.theleaderpath.com. Caterina. Thank you so much for sharing your, your thoughts, reflections mistakes with us today. Again, congratulations on the launch of the book.

Caterina Kostoula (32m 54s):
Thank you so much. It was a pleasure.

Mark Graban (32m 56s):
Well, thanks again to Catarina Kostoula for being our guest today for links, including the link to her book and other show notes and more, you can go to markgraban.com/mistake85. Thanks for listening. Please follow rate and review the podcast. And I hope this podcast inspires you to reflect on your own mistakes, how you can learn from them or turn them into a positive I've had listeners tell me they've started being more open and honest about mistakes and their work. And they're trying to create a workplace culture where it's safe to speak up about problems because that leads to more improvement and better business results. If you have feedback or a story to share, you can email me myfavoritemistakepodcast@gmail.com.

Mark Graban (33m 40s):
And again, our website is myfavoritemistakepodcast.com.

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. He is also a Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Marketing with the healthcare advisory firm, Value Capture.