2. Check egos at the door.


Steve Giles, president and CEO of Raleigh, N.C.-based Oculan, which provides network and systems management products, says his team members have type-A aggressive personalities, which helps his start-up company gain traction in the marketplace.

However, Giles has some advice that seems to work for his eager team,print a sign with the word "ego" on it, and place a red slash mark through the word. Put it up in your executive conference room, Giles suggests. "We do not have time for this in the marketplace because of the speed of change in business," Giles says.

To that same point, there's a mantra within his group that he considers paramount to the company's success.

"Here, we have a saying that we're going to turn this meeting [around 360 degrees to discuss things until we see the others' point of view," Giles says. "We see why we were where we were, and go back to the same points we originally had."

While some may see that as wasting precious meeting time, Giles does not. He has lunch brought in every week, usually on Tuesdays during staff meetings, which run from 11 a.m. until about 1 p.m.

"People here rebel against spending time on nonrevenue-generating gatherings," Giles says.

3. It's all about timing

4. Seek input at all levels