I just don’t like meetings very much. If you have information to impart, just send me an email. I’m particularly bad at brainstorming meetings – you know, where you write down all your outrageous idea on post-it notes, or on huge sheets of paper stuck up on the wall. The moderator ALWAYS starts out with “every idea is valuable” and warns everyone not to bring up negatives.
This is hard for me. I’m a problem solver and when presented with a problem and possible solutions, my brain immediately starts working through each solution to see if it’s viable, if it could solve the problem. Of course, most of the ideas that get thrown out at brainstorming meetings are ridiculous and can easily be ruled out as good solutions – but only if you’re allowed to rule them out. As I’ve never been able to stop my mind from looking for the logistics in brainstorming meetings, I tend to sit quietly, taking notes. Luckily my boss knows this about me and she rarely asked me to take part in these kinds of sessions.
But boy, Build-a-Bear could have used someone like me in the meeting where they decided to run a “Pay Your Age” promotion one day last week. If you brought in your child, you could get a bear for your child’s age… and even if you were getting the bear for yourself, the cap on the price was $29. Here’s one of the many news stories from Thursday:
“Pay Your Age” could only have come up during a brainstorming meeting in which everybody had been exhorted to listen to all ideas fairly and not comment. It’s hard to imagine a lot of experienced business people not being able to think through the problems with this marketing ploy unless they were cowed into silence. How could they not know there would be an immediate and huge response to them basically giving the bears away? How could they not figure out that a few employees in the stores would not be able to handle the crush of customers? And how could they not think about the natural reactions of people with their kids standing in line for hours, being jostled by the strangers in front and behind them?
Obviously my observations are in hindsight, but I’m pretty sure if I’d been in that brainstorming meeting, my brain would have come up with a lot of reasons why this wouldn’t work – at least in the way it was rolled out. But would I have said anything or just taken a bunch of notes about how stupid meetings are?
So bears. Yea or nay?