No cell phones during meetings? Talk about a culture change.


Melissa Mayer isn’t the only CEO shaking up the culture of her company.

Bob Flexon, CEO of Dynergy, started with $5 million in savings when he moved from fancy headquarters to a single open floor in a new building and swapped private offices for cubicles. But that was just a start. “Among other changes, he made frequent visits to the company’s power plants, banned employees from checking email and phones during meetings and restored annual performance reviews…” a recent Wall Street Journal story reported.

Earlier this year Mayer caused a stir when she made the decision to ban telecommuting for Yahoo! employees.

Think about your own day-to-day business activities. When it comes to communicating with co-workers, employees and clients, how often are you in the moment? Are you usually checking your email on a phone call? Or maybe you’re guilty of checking text messages during meetings.

Mr. Flexon attempts to curb that behavior with a sign mounted underneath his monitor that reads, “Be Here Now,” a reminder to avoid checking email during calls. It’s all part of his plan to instill a winning spirit in a company that filed for bankruptcy just four months after his arrival. It’s an example he’s setting from the top down, but many companies are hesitant to make such demands in fear that employees will feel micromanaged and under-appreciated.

We’re so used to splitting our focus today with our attention divided between email and phone and the task at hand — are we afraid to ask for the full attention of anyone?

I think Melissa Mayer and Bob Flexon seem to be on to something here.

Won’t it be interesting to see if more companies take a “Be Here Now” attitude? It sounds like something we should all remember when dealing with our clients.


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