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We’ve Got to Quit Meeting Like This!

Back in my marketing days I had a nice roster of clients in New York City, and the bigger they were (number of employees, revenue, global reach, etc.), the more formal their boardrooms or conference rooms seemed to be.

I always wondered what came first, the big boardroom or the big organization. Was it a springboard for success or a symbol that success had come?

I loved being the first to be escorted into a boardroom like this and to wait for the other players to enter the inner sanctum. I would swivel (these leather chairs were always on swivels) one of the chairs a few degrees to the left or right, sit back in mine, and wait for the fun to begin.

Nine times out of ten the first person to enter the room would see the chair that was askew, go straight to it, swivel it back to the “correct” position and, only then, walk over to extend a formal welcome along with a right hand for proper shaking.

It was really hard for me to hold back the laugh track, much less suppress a smile. I just wanted to jump on the table and sing, “Shake it up, baby, now (shake it up baby), twist and shout (twist and shout), come on, come on, come on, baby, now (come on baby), work it on out (work it on out) …”

Somehow, I got the feeling this wasn’t the room for letting your hair down, no-holds-barred brainstorming, looking at things differently or leaving titles or experience (longevity) out in the hall.

Words like stodgy, formal, stifling, intimidating and “old boys school” came to mind. I would call it the “Rubber Stamp Room” or the “Brain Drain Room”.

These rooms may have been opulent, but where was the room to breath, to spread out, to spin around in those swivel based chairs, to spill a Coke (if Coke was even allowed in the first place) on the table without fear of being fired … room to think … room to create … room to fail … room to learn … room to grow.

Sing it with me: Shake it up, baby, now! Stop the madness. We have got to quit meeting like this!

Here’s my idea of a shake it up, baby, place, a perfect place to let your inhibitions go and mind flow, and you only have to walk a few blocks from  ><((“> HQ to get here.

It’s called the Pipeline Rapids Walkway and it is located on Virginia’s Main Stream, the River James, that roars right through downtown Richmond.

“Our room” is as big as all outdoors!

In fact, it is outdoors! It is right under the train trestle on the left hand side of the picture above.

It is our “Detox Room”, our “Romper Room” and our “Catch Your Limit Room”. It’s where we bring our friends and our clients to get to know each other, share ideas, conversations and points of you. We create, we innovate, we collaborate and we have a ball doing all of the above.

The only things off limits are smart phones, hidden agendas, closed minds, absolutes and making excuses.

Guest are always welcome, like our blue herons, their babies, river critters and fish.  Included in the river critters category are the kyakers who brave the Class 4 and 5 rapids below us. The really good ones can keep their course, smile and wave to us at the same time. Speaking of waving, it doesn’t take much to coax a wave out of the engineers in the trains above us.

It is kinetic, chaotic, stimulating and awe inspiring. It’s waters hold the past, present and future and somehow, you know a drop or two of that future will be yours.

I have been in plenty of conference rooms and boardrooms and I would match ours against most any of them, even without the swivel based leather chairs. The best thing about this room is you never know what’s going to come out of it.

The rapids provide the perfect rhythm, beat and sound to shake it up, baby (shake it up baby) … the perfect environment for coming together or getting it together … with plenty of room to jump up and down and make joyful contributions to our world!

Where do you shake it up, baby? Where do you go to get away from the maddening crowd? Where is the place that inspires you, calms you, challenges you, allows your mind to go for a walk in the wilderness are through the world of possibilities or swim the oceans of the universe?  How often do you go there? Do you bring others?

Just know you are always welcome to join us in “our room”.

It has plenty of room for all of us, including our hearts, minds and souls.

><(("> Tom Laughon
Tom is affectionately known as BIG ><(("> at Catch Your Limit

Catch Your Limit
Management Guides & Fish Cleaning Services
><(("> Camps in Tallahassee, Florida and Richmond, Virginia
To learn more, visit

Posted in Business, Change, Creativity, Innovation, Inspiration, Leadership.

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