Bridging the Difference® from painful to gainful meetings

There is a direct connection between Intentional Meetings® and reaching our goals this year. I trained 160 salaried staff at my Mexico facility. Now we’re all better managers, leading a better organization, with better participation and involvement from all employees. It’s now our standard work instruction for any meeting. The most important benefit is how it builds trust.” —Operations Excellence Leader, Global Medical Technology Company

The challenge.

Every year, US-based firms waste $37 billion in unproductive meetings.
A 12,000-employee global medical technology company was no exception.

Every day, they experienced the productivity drain of poor meetings. After several
failed attempts to improve their meeting culture, a strategic investment with Bridging the Difference® solved the underlying causes of meeting frustrations, inefficiencies, and unproductive conflict.

  • Valuable and talented people were harried, rushing from one meeting to the next, inefficiently striving to reach good decisions for the business.
  • Meeting time was spent “people-wrangling, limiting side conversations, getting people to pay attention.”
  • People arrived late for meetings or left early, and drifted off-topic, derailing the agenda.
  • People would have to restate remarks for others multi-tasking on work unrelated to the meeting.
  • The right data, the right amount of time, or the right people were missing.
  • “Spectators” would confuse the issues, causing unproductive conflict and chaos.
  • People couldn’t reach decisions. One meeting would become two meetings then three meetings, crippling project timelines.

Their attempts to fix it.

Before working with Bridging the Difference®, the organization tried to address the productivity drain by:

  • Limiting meetings to 45 minutes. That didn’t work.
  • Moving to an open floor plan, thinking it would result in fewer meetings. That didn’t help – instead, it increased the number of meetings because people needed a quiet place to focus.
  • Not having meetings in the first 2 hours of the day, so people would have time to “do their work” versus meet. That solution didn’t address the problem either.
  • Using an off-the-shelf training program. That didn’t help in the US, and it wasn’t applicable to their global footprint.

That’s when they discovered Bridging the Difference® had unique qualifications to understand the underlying cause of the problem and fix it.

The fix.

Bridging the Difference® provided its Intentional Meetings® solution to shift the firm’s meetings from painful to gainful.

In one-day workshops, leaders from Continuous Improvement, Manufacturing, Operations, Supply Chain, Packaging, Procurement, and the Strategy Execution Office learned the best-practices planning and facilitation method by applying it to their real upcoming meetings.

Leaders immediately become more effective at leveraging their teams’ collective energy and wisdom.

Better leaders, better meetings, better business.

Leaders began to see the impact of the method right away.

  • Higher quality team member contributions.
  • More productive issue-resolution conversations.
  • Quality decisions made in the first meeting – that stuck after the meeting.


Six months later.

After less than six months, this organization’s meetings became more effective and efficient. Leaders say they’re not sacrificing one for the other. They accomplish more in less time, and their teams are more unified around a common purpose.

The thing I really liked was how it was more than just a process; it was a mindset shift.We are now more efficient. We have less stress and less frustration. We save time because everyone is rowing at the same pace in the same direction.” –Associate Director, Corporate Continuous Improvement

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