I was sitting in a meeting recently…a week after classes had ended at Curry College and three days after final grades had been posted…apparently because someone decided we “needed” to have a meeting.
So far…20 minutes into the affair…two people had passed on information that just as easily could have been provided via email. And, looking at the agenda, there was nothing of any greater significance coming up. Waah…waah…waah.
Meetings are the bane of most “ordinary” folks. They’re seen as an extra burden that eats into valuable work time.
Those who…for reasons that continue to elude me…actually enjoy these things see these meetings as a necessary part of the overall conduct of business.
Part of the “problem” (my designation) is that the folks sentenced to be in charge of these meetings often have no clue how to run these meetings. As a result, an enormous amount of time is wasted that would have been better spent either sleeping or eating a sandwich.
So why have them?
Apparently the prevailing thought is that meetings are a necessary part of the democratic process. And I have no problem with that…so long as the content of the meeting leads to successful resolution of a work-related problem.
These are the “lessons to be learned” as you move ahead in your career:
- Be clear on your reason(s) for scheduling a meeting.
- Prepare…and share…an agenda of items to be covered.
- Plan ahead and prepare a “script” of what you are going to discuss.
- Set a meeting time limit to accomplish what you’ve laid out.
- Stick to the agenda…the script…and the time limit.
Effective leadership…and management…come from being aware of the impact of your action(s) on others.
How do you know whether or not you are accomplishing this with your meeting(s)
Simple. Ask! Talk to your colleagues…folks who you feel will give you honest and constructive feedback.
Effective leadership and management is a process. Some people are blessed with effective leadership traits from the start of their careers. And some are instinctively effective managers. Others are both.
But all share a crucial responsibility…to be mindful of how their actions impact others. And the answer to that unasked question should not be “because I think we need a meeting.”
Communication is, as we have learned over the years, a two-way, mutually-beneficial process. I talk; you listen and give me your feedback. You talk; I listen and respond to your insights and perceptions.
In today’s world, though, this does not require herding the masses into a room where they are condemned to remain until the instigator of the punishment decides he or she has “made a point” or “reached consensus.”
No. Today we are blessed with a multitude of avenues for communicating and “reaching consensus” including social media platforms and the good ol’ tried-and-proven email. Or, horror of horrors, face-to-face!!
Once the masses have had a chance to weigh in with their thoughts and opinions, then…and only then…could or should a meeting be arranged…to finalize the discussion and make a decision.
Not because you “think it might be a good idea.” No…because…now… “It has to be done.”