When it comes to the weather, I’m Baby Bear. Summer’s too hot, winter’s too cold, but fall is just right. I’d eat it all up. My only beef is that the portion is too small. I’d trade in any month of winter for an extra week of September. Yesterday, for example, was practically perfect–cool–but with lots of sun broken by big fluffs of cumulus.
As an added bonus, I spent the day in one of the practically perfect places, on Lake Ozonia in the Adirondacks–where the lakes and the mountains are not too big, and not too small, but just right. The leaves are already reaching into red and vermillion there, a few weeks ahead of the St. Lawrence Valley where I live. Pretty sweet.
As it happens, I was there on business, attending a retreat with the NCPR News crew. Which leads me to my main point: advising America’s CEO/MBA culture on the proper way to conduct a business meeting. Don’t just get out of the boardroom, get out of Dodge. Delete “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” from your Blackberry and chuck out “Robert’s Rules of Order.” The best venue is a century-old family camp with a charming prospect of woods and water. Lay a fire in the massive fieldstone fireplace and circle round on couches, rockers and easy chairs.
Break often for good food and conversation. Be easy about the agenda if the talk is going in fruitful, but unanticipated directions. Organize a boat ride in the buttery light of late afternoon and look for loons. Finish up with a cookout. You’ll still get a lot of good work done, and everybody will be more than willing to turn up for your next meeting.
And if your staff is unable to cope productively in such a loosely-structured environment, maybe it’s time to review your recruiting practices.