1)Why are informal settings such as dinners useful?2)Could the consultants have influenced the agenda in more formal ways? How?3)If you had been one of the managers at the Italian restaurant, what would your views of the meeting been? POST 1)1.  Informal settings for meetings and to exchange information can be very useful in breaking down barriers.  Often, people feel very restricted to voice their opinions when in a formal office setting or in a boardroom with their superiors.  I have seen it often in the military where people are given an option to speak up, but no one truly feels comfortable because the setting does not fell appropriate.  Wearing casual clothes, drinking a beer, and socializing before business begins can often make leaders feel more ‘human’ to their employees and in return lead to more honest feedback.2.  It is possible that the consultants could have influenced the agenda in more formal ways, but several issues point to the fact that employees of the company did not feel comfortable with the leadership.  Originally, the marketing and sales manager was already skeptical of the CEOs attempt to have dinner at his own house, believing that the CEO would attempt to influence the agenda of the consultants.  Also, when the consultants invited middle management to the Italian restaraunt, it was noted that middle management had several good ideas but were always shut out and their opinions were not hear.  By breaking down those formal barriers, the consultants were able to do their job.  I believe more formal ways would have came up short of the desired effect.3.  If I was one of the managers at the Italian restaraunt I would have been relieved that someone was finally listening to us.  It was noted that they had ideas and knew why the company was in trouble.  Middle management is the where the rubber meets the road between the employees and supervisors.  They must be involved when trying to find out better ways to run the business. CURTPOST 2)During the reading of Illustration 15.3 question 1, Why are informal settings such as dinners useful?  It is custom sometimes during business dealings to set the first meeting in a relaxed environment to break the ice and ensured that everyone gets a chance to relax and express their opinions.  In this scenario that was the thought of some people but, not all had the same conclusion for a mutual meeting spot.  The CEO had other plans, and some saw it as an opportunity to persuade the consultant company in his favor.Question 2, Could the consultant have influenced the agenda in more informal ways? How? Although I understand having meetings off-site to avoid everyone at the company going crazy until the plan for the consultant is set.  Having a more formal meeting is the best practice to set the tone on how serious the situation is. I do believe that the consultant firm could have influenced a more of a formal setting. However, it is a very fragile meeting that the consultant company wants to happen.  For the consultant company to get hired, they must ensure the CEO that the study of the company will be professional and informative.Question 3, If you had been one of the managers at the Italian restaurant, what would your views of the meeting be? Since only half of the managers were present for the meeting, I would assume that I have the same opinions as the CEO and I was invited because of that reason.  I would also then question why everyone was not present for the meeting. JOHNPOST 3)1. In my opinion informal setting such as dinners are useful because they can potentially break the ice.  For example, being in the military if we are out at a dinner uniform is not expected, so seeing my commanding officer in a pair of jeans and a t shirt rather than brass on their shoulders would put me more at ease when having conversations.2. I believe the consultants could have influenced the agenda in a more formal way by, first not talking about work during a dinner.  Granted the whole purpose of the dinner was to talk business but I feel the dinner was to establish yourself and gain a sense of connection from the other end, like a bond.3. If I was one of the managers being asked for drinks and food at an Italian restaurant, I would feel there are high expectations.  I must admit I would be a tad bit nervous because I feel I would be talking on behalf of the small organization I am in but overall I see it as an opportunity to show the boss what I got.  Other examples, if I was going to the house for the dinner I would do my research and buy the bottle of scotch I know my boss likes, or at the castle, know my history to sound smarter, and at the Italian place, be prepared to pay to leave a statement of, I got this. MelissaPOST 4)1.) Informal settings such as dinners play critical roles in bringing different individuals together. First, these settings allow individuals to mingle and interact more freely whereby they can easily share ideas and feelings regarding various issues that might be affecting them. Second, informal settings help to build trust among individuals regardless of their social status. For instance, senior employees get to interact with their juniors more freely compared to formal settings where roles and classes among workers are clearly distinguished. Third, informal settings provide a neutral ground for workers to express their feelings and ideas without the fear of their superiors.  Lastly, this setting is a fertile ground for influencing other individuals. 2.) Consultants play vital roles in influencing decisions and other ideas. Therefore, consultants at Locco could have used this ability to influence decisions made by the management regardless of the location or surrounding environment. These consultants were involved in carrying out extensive data analysis with the aim of identifying the main issues that affected the company. Consequently, it is unquestionable that they could have used their findings to influence the nature of the decision made by the management. Besides, management’s decision was largely dependent on the results of their analysis. 3.) Lastly, junior managers are often assumed in the decision-making process. However, this meeting gave them room to express their thoughts and possible source of the organization’s problems. Therefore, the fact this meeting gave them this opportunity shows that it was successful. However, it is important to ensure that their ideas are also considered during the implementation process. The senior consultant should go beyond establishing a rapport with the managers and incorporate their ideas as part of his findings=- Bianca POST 5)1) I think informal settings offer both parties to be a little more comfortable during the meeting.  I have been in formal meetings as well as informal, and I think the latter is easier to conversate about the subject.  My experiences with formal meetings have typically involved preparing a brief speech about the topic and then answering any questions that may arise during the meeting.  When these types of interactions take place in an informal setting, both parties have an opportunity to discuss the topic.  2) In some ways, I think the CEO may have benefited more from formal meetings.  The idea that he was trying to sway the decisions of the consultants by having them over for dinner might have not been an issue had the meetings happened in the work place.  Also, the meeting at the pizzeria raises some concern for the managers that did not want to or were not able to attend.  The perception may be that the members not in attendance do not have the best interest of the company in mind, while that may not be the issue at all.  One reason I do not like to have business discussion outside of work is that I do not want to mix work with outside life.  If I have a cookout and invite people from work, we are solely there for fun, not work discussions.  3) If I were one of the managers at the pizzeria, I would not hold the meeting against any of the members that were not there.  I think the meeting would have been more beneficial if all of the managers were in attendance, but there may have been underlying circumstances as to why all the members were not there.  Some people have a job only for the reason of paying their bills, while others are striving to make it to the top.  As long as both of these types give 100% while they are at work (on the clock), then they cannot be punished for not attending “extracurricular” activities -HoneycuttPOST 6)1. Informal settings such as dinner can be useful as it is a way for people to unwind and relax and it’s also an opportunity to get to know one another and build relationships.  An informal setting gives you the chance to open up and voice your opinion more freely and not feel restricted like one might feel in the work environment.2. Yes, I believe the consultants could have influenced the agenda in a more formal way, for example, like conducting a SWOT analysis of Locco to determine why the company’s profits are declining by examining the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities to improve and threats.  This analysis would be conducted onsite, in the work environment, business casual attire, conference room setting with PowerPoint presentations and working in teams.3. My first thought or views on meeting with the consultants would probably have been this was their opportunity now to pick our brains as to why the company is experiencing declining profits and what do we as middle managers see as being the solution. This meeting would serve as an opportunity to exchange information or complain about some of the issues going on in the organization that is contributing to the decline, but because middle managers are in the trenches, they may not get the respect they deserve so their voices aren’t always heard. My overall hopes would be that the managers would come away from the meeting feeling positive and energized and ready to do what they need to do to support the organization. -DANA POST 7)1) Informal settings such as dinner’s helps to create a conducive atmosphere that support more personal interactions. Participants are more likely to get an opportunity to engage with other much more as compared when engaging in formal setup where interactions are limited. As a result, consultants and clients are more likely to work as team, where each strives to fulfill the needs of the other. Apart from learning the history of a company, informal setups as it is the case in the text help to cultivate avenues for trust growth. Informal setups also help interested parties get their positons heard and taken into consideration, especially where they feel they have more control and confidence as evidenced by the way the CEO and the consultant dictated the tempo of discussion at the CE’s home and at the castle respectively. 2) Yes, consultants could have influenced the agenda by requesting in advance an opportunity to present their case. It should be noted that formal meetings usually have moderators who give an equal chance to participants to give their views. As such, the consultants would have been in a position to influence the agenda by making specific request of some items to be included in the agenda. This can possibly be sort by asking for some specific issues to be discussed in a meeting before the actual day of the meeting. This helps each of the participants to be aware of what is one the table. Last but not least, providing supporting information, and examples can also help consultants influence the process in a more formal way.3) I would have approached the meeting more positively and seen it as an opportunity to get to know what the consultants have to say concerning the then state of affairs. I thought the meeting was equally a success for both parties and created an opportunity for better relationships between the consultants and middle managers. Besides this, it did also create an avenue for the middle managers to ask questions with regard to the nature of work and what was expected of them. Lastly, such meeting provided a perfect platform where managers could raise their concerns that they needed to be addressed.

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