Your Career and You: “Because It Has To Be Done”


Publication1I 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.”

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About kirkhazlett

35+ years' federal government and nonprofit organization PR experience followed by more than 10 years' undergraduate and graduate college teaching experience. Community and media relations expertise, as well as a fanaticism for quality service and customer satisfaction. PR for healthcare and member services organizations ranging from Blood Bank of Hawaii to Medical Area Service Corporation to Boston Harborfest. Consulting services for Manila and Singapore Red Cross.
This entry was posted in Communication, Curry College, feedback, Planning and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Your Career and You: “Because It Has To Be Done”

  1. Corina Manea says:

    Well said Kirk! In my previous job I was absolutely bored and fed up with this kind of meetings where people like to hear themselves talking, where no further action is required and where we basically wasted everyone´s time (except the speaker´s ´cause he liked to talk!).
    It was one of the things that made me quit and launch in a solo adventure. If you don´t value my time for your company and expect me to go back to work when you go home, because half a day was wasted in meetings, then I am out of here.
    I tried to implement this thing called: meeting agenda. Have you heard of it? Oh and invitation through email sent a few days in advance, so you know, people can prepare for the meeting.
    Did I succeed? NO! Later on I realized people like to talk and it makes them feel important (it was the head of the company). So I started to skip the meetings and focus on what I want to do next.
    Funny thing: they call themselves leaders! Good joke!

    • kirkhazlett says:

      Thanks for your wonderful…and oh-so-true…feedback, Corina. And apologies for the delayed response…long story that will be explained in a future post!

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