Tiger By The Tail Tool
Secret 52: Scotch Meeting
My former business partner used to be someone who would let things build and fester emotionally until he’d blow up at staff or at me. It gave him some temporary relief to yell and maybe throw something, but it undermined relationships on our team. He didn’t feel good about it, and neither did I. He was an absolutely terrific guy and I didn’t want to see his relationships with staff damaged or our friendship strained due to his outbursts.
We agreed that we needed a system to bring things up before they became an explosive situation, so we developed what became a formal methodology. We called it a “Scotch Meeting” in which we’d manage our partnership, our friendship, and any pressing work issues before they had a chance to fester.
The format and method went like this:
The Scotch Meeting protocol is one of the most effective tools I’ve ever used for managing the emotional component of business relationships. It has the capacity to move issues from a scary place of silence and growing frustration to getting things out in the open quickly and collaboratively to find solutions. It isn’t a concept limited to just business partnerships.
In my consulting work, I’ve introduced the Scotch Meeting protocol to companies to use for their management teams, or sometimes across an entire organization. In these circumstances, we’ve found it better to introduce the concept as a Coffee Meeting. Of course, it needs to be understood that the meeting isn’t a social get-together over a cup of Joe, but a friendly problem-solving session, whatever the beverage of choice. The intention and purpose of the meeting is very specific.
The Scotch Meeting protocol has generated more positive feedback and resolved more issues than my former business partner and I ever imagined. It is a fantastic tool for business owners and partners serious about their relationships and long-term success.