There is a point in our professional lives that there are just too much meetings for nothing.
I am aghast at the scope of meetings in a year where organizations become meeting-addicts, thinking that by meeting together face-to-face from discussing the color of the office curtain, sending notes of thank to volunteers and donors, deciding on the font style for the company newsletter, and other myriad non-essential topics you can imagine that exists in organizations, things get completed.
Worst of all, they are conducted to share information which is the least use of time, energy, and everyone's attention.
What happened to email thread in conversations that you have had a few months but delay for face-to-face meeting which ended up all the time- not enough time to make a good decision!
Also, what happened to phone calls which you can always converse directly to the person/persons involved without having to require a good group effort.
I remember a client of mine that contracted me a few years ago to spearhead the submission of a job market project proposal. This requires getting all the information from various initiatives and projects under the department which could be more than 5 in a given time. The manager thought that by convening this big group meeting where everyone is present and can give information is the best way to deal with it.
Wrong! By all accounts, I did not need a group to tell me what to do and we did not really need a face-to-face meeting. If they can submit what I need, I'd be able to do my job without hassle and with less time. This is no- brainer, simple but smartest way to get things done.
We don't need a participatory process all the time-like it has become a mantra for everything. It is not the best vehicle to accomplish things all the time, in all conditions. We have to be judicious when to invoke a method or when to just our brains to get things done and out of the way.
Brainstorming is good but if somebody has to make a decision on these issues, by no means, do not delay and bring the whole Alberta population to discuss it to feel good about the decision. Managers, supervisors, and bosses- this is your call. Make an honest decision based on the facts that you have. No body is going to shoot you any time soon.
A lot of people honestly believe but by conducting meeting, they can do more. On the contrary, they accomplish less and less, create more and more work, and delay the needed decision when it is time to make that important stand on things. It is waste of monies, time (which is not recoverable), and attention. People on the table can give their opinions and perspectives but by the end of the way, some one will be accountable and will carry out the directive.
They say the best way to something is always the simplest. I wholeheartedly agree and believe so.
The next time you agree on a group meeting, ask yourself is it something you can do by email, on the phone, and/or just meeting the concerned person face-to-face.
Do they have the agenda, the start and finish time, and the key objectives they want to accomplish for the meeting?
What exactly will be your contribution, either expressed or implied, you need to know where do you stand in the issues to be discussed or explored and the role you will play in the group dynamics?
If these items are not sufficiently assessed, the best note to yourself - it's time to stop attending meetings.
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