All Hands (and Feet)


If you have ever run a meeting where people fell asleep, you suck. I know it happens all the time. Leaders drone on, with no inflection, and can’t engage the audience. It’s painful. I used to gauge my presentation skills by whether my boss’s boss (TB- notorious and self deprecating about it) would doze off. I learned to be animated and make jokes to keep TB engaged. Once while my boss was presenting in a room with the three of us, I saw TB doze off on the opposite side of a conference table. You might be boring.

I know managers who can’t accomplish anything without a meeting. What a waste of time. If you can’t make a decision without pulling together 6 people who have better things to do, just so you can feel ‘fluffed’ by the decision, you suck. Stand up and lead.

Some things are truly done best in a group meeting scenario. The stereotypical All-Hands meeting should be a time for the company to come together and share in the fact that you are all one team with one set of goals. When you review results of the past year/quarter/month, you are celebrating the fact that everyone, regardless of department, owns these stats. It should be more interesting than a PowerPoint deck read to us, like a lullaby. Every All-Hands I have ever been to was super boring, it shouldn’t be. I vow never to do this.

An All-Hands meeting should be fun and engaging and keep you awake. Here is my agenda, you will understand why ‘feet’ are involved.

1) 8 deep box breaths (4 seconds each: In. Hold. Out. Hold) – 2 minutes

2) Warmup (jumping jacks or brisk walk or jog) to get blood moving. While this is going on, leadership will review mission, goals, purpose of the company – 3 minutes

3) ROM (Range Of Motion)

  • 15 Leg swings forward and back
  • 10 Arm circles forward
  • 15 Leg sweeps (side to side crossing in front)
  • 10 Arm circles backward
  • 15 Hip rotators, forward
  • 10 Arm up back and overs
  • 15 Hip rotators, backward
  • 10 Hi Jack Hi Jills
  • 10 Wrist and ankle rotations, both directions
  • 10 Press-Press-Flings
  • 10 Knee swivels (shaking the foot hinging sideways at the knee)
  • 10 Hip twists
  • 10 Swimmer chest stretches
  • 5 Neck movements (fore and back, side to side, twists, rotations-both directions)
  • 15 Cherry pickers

While we do ROM drills in unison, all of the company metrics and stats are discussed from PowerPoint slides with a rep counter running in the corner – 15 minutes

4) Strength Stations

I would set up 4 stations with exercises at each. These could change at each meeting. Things like air squats, pushups, situps, supermans, deadlifts, thrusters, etc. At each station the associate needs to goal set in a way that they feel contributes to the company. We could write them on a poster or even better, record a selfie video. I would do 2 goals for the company, 1 goal for professional development, and 1 personal goal (family or individual). Yes, your work evaluation should include how you execute on your personal goals. Members of the management team should be at each station, encouraging employees and cheering them on, while discussing their goals. – 20 Minutes

5)  Cool down. Stretching of all major muscle groups

At this point everyone is jacked up and has their blood flowing. Time for leadership to talk about the future. What are the goals for the company, our shared target metrics. None of this wishy washy crap, be specific. Talk about how it impacts the major teams and individual associates. – 20 Minutes

I know what you are thinking, this is so stupid Who are you to make me do exercise? This isn’t what I signed up for when I joined this company! Well I believe in people. And if you believe in a person, you want them to live, you want them to be healthy, you want them to grow and be stronger. That doesn’t happen by sitting in a cube, or in a conference room, or large assembly. Stagnant. Almost asleep. If the health of the company is discussed at an All-Hands meeting, we should also make it a critical fact of the company’s health, that the health of our people is symbiotic. How could it not be? Get up and move. You can have an All Hands (and Feet) meeting, that gets something done, doesn’t waste people’s time, and keeps everyone awake.

About Josh Rutstein

I am an aspiring entrepreneur and hopeful political candidate. Father of 2 very special girls, husband to an amazing woman, and passionate American. I snowboard whenever possible and follow a 20x mentality for exercise. I also play golf and ultimate frisbee and am a die hard New England Patriots fan and season ticket holder. Everyday I wake up wanting to make this country a better place, someday I hope to actually succeed.
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