It’s 8.30 am. You arrive at your desk appropriately caffeinated and ready to take on the day.
You open your calendar…
..your shoulders droop. The arc of the day is laid out before you like the predictable plot of a blockbuster chick flick. What do you see?
9:00 – 10:30 The standard weekly team teleconference
10:30 – 11:30 Coffee catchup with colleague in another division
11:30 – 12:30 Project status update meeting
12:30 – 1:30 Lunch catch up with external vendors
2:00 – 3:00 Delegated project governance meeting
3:30 – 5:00 Multi-divisional knowledge sharing workshop
There are narrow slivers of daylight between the gaps. There is no time – NO TIME – left in your work day to do the work you must do to meet your own objectives.
Your quarterly KPIs linger on the horizon like the unobtainium of Pandora.
No longer the motivated self-starter, you move into the role of the cynic.
- Who calls these useless meetings?
- How can we get any real work done?
- Why do the idiots in charge put up with this?
- ***scowl and frown***
The cynic is eventually defeated. You cannot muster the mental energy to maintain the rage necessary to fight the power. You are now playing the familiar role of the victim.
- This is how it is around here
- I can’t change the system
- Here we go again…
BUT YOU ARE THE CATALYST FOR CHANGE.
DO these things:
- Establish and communicate a purpose
- Schedule the appropriate amount of time
- Invite the people required to achieve your stated and agreed outcome
- If it is your meeting, chair the meeting properly
- Close the meeting with agreed actions
DON’T do these things
- Invite anybody that is superfulous
- ‘work’ during a meeting
- Show up unprepared
- Talk to hear yourself speak
- Talk to sound smart
In praise of the productive meeting
Work is about collaboration. Meetings matter when they are forums for productivity, creativity and progress. I believe in robust discussion and debate. That can only happen when two or more people come together. The power of a group of people to solve a problem is often greater than the efforts of an individual. But this is a power that must be used sparingly. It must be carefully harnessed.
Meetings are a good thing. We simply have too many of them and many are of inferior quality.
So have fewer meetings and make them matter more.