Al Pittampalli is the founder of the Modern Meeting Company and the Author of Read This Before Our Next Meeting. As a former IT advisor at Ernst & Young LLP, he worked on-site at Fortune 1000 companies all across the country and sat in on a lot of their meetings. He’s still recovering.
But while the vast majority of meetings he attended lacked purpose, energy, and brevity, a few companies he worked with seemed to have meetings that were purposeful, intense, and short. The experience raised a burning question: What separates those organizations with cultures of mediocre meetings from the ones with masterful ones?
This singular question became the focus of the Modern Meeting Company, a small independent group he founded to help organizations from various different fields from NASA to Starbucks, from Abbvie Pharmaceuticals to the Controllers Association of Kent County Michigan. His success transforming the way these companies held meetings lead to his book, Read This Before Our Next Meeting (Penguin) which not only explains what’s wrong with “the meeting,” and meeting culture, but suggests how to make meetings more effective, efficient, and worthy of attending. Most importantly it assesses when it’s necessary to skip the meeting and get right to work by answering a critical question: What exactly is the purpose of the modern meeting? Now out in over 100K copies, it was the most popular kindle book in the world during the week of its release. It’s been translated into five different languages. He’s also a contributor to Harvard Business Review’s Guide to Making Every Meeting Matter.
His latest, Persuadable: How Great Leaders Change Their Minds to Change the World was published by HarperBusiness in early 2016. There are an astounding number of books that teach you how to persuade others. But as a society we’re already fairly persuasive; what we’re not is persuadable—we lack the genuine willingness to change our own minds. Why? For one, changing our minds is often perceived as a weakness in our culture. In this book, Al uses decades of social science to reveal it as an incontrovertible strength. Because not only is being persuadable the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do—a powerful advantage in both business and life.