Monday, April 22, 2013

The Meeting Fool

Meetings are a hot topic in my world lately. My company has a new performance improvement team examining how meetings are conducted, how to make them more meaningful, and whether or not we need as many meetings as we do. I've even written about meetings recently and described how some personality types dominate meetings over others.

Something seems to be missing in all of the energy, analysis and gnashing of teeth that is being directed at the meetings "burden" in my world.

Learning From Real Estate
Any real estate agent worth a darn will tell you the age old mantra about their industry: location, location, location. For anyone who has ever purchased property you know that no matter how good something looks online, you have to go to see the property before buying. Imagine how stupid you would look if you actually made a buying decision without even going to fully understand the property?

What a fool!

I spend a lot of time in conference rooms, meeting rooms, and offices where decisions are made that impact work that isn't done in any of those conference rooms, meetings rooms or offices.

In order to understand the impact of our decisions, doesn't it make sense to go to where the issues are actually happening? Do you think our employees would appreciate the image of a team of leaders coming directly to their units or departments to better understand the issues?

Who's the fool now? Oh, that's right. I am.

Meetings Rock
Can you say that about the meetings in your organization? Are they places where people come together and openly discuss difficult issues in order to improve operations, culture, earnings, satisfaction or clinical care? They're supposed to do this.

They're not supposed to be a burden that ends up being a double 'time suck' because we not only complain about them, but we don't use our time effectively either.

Fool. Fools. Fools.

How About You
What approach do you take when you see a full day of meetings on your calendar. Is it time to add to the noise all around you? Or, do you make a change? Imagine how many salary dollars are spent in meetings each year in your company. Now do you think it's worth making a change?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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  1. Good article Jay. We've just had a process of completely stripping back all of our meetings and redoing the structure. It took some time to drag people away from the old meeting formats because that was how they had always been done but we've managed to get a system that works well.

    I think its a good idea to revisit meeting systems and structure every 6 months or so because they get stale very quickly.

    I like the idea of emphasis on location of the meeting, I may try and fit this into my next revamp

    1. Thanks Simon. I love the idea of taking a fresh look at meetings on a regular basis!

  2. This is why YOU are in the role you are. Creative ideas for meeting locations. When I worked at a children's hospital, I would hold meetings outside, in the cafeteria (which was colorful and bright and played classical music) or even off site at funky venues (much like we used to do HRevolution). I believe a couple things: first, employees can learn more and come up with more creative ideas if they are in a creative, unique space, not a conference room. Second, meetings should not be 30/ 60/ 90 minutes. If it takes 17 minutes to meet, have a 17 minute meeting. If it takes 38, then only take 38. I think we need to retrain the workforce. Great post.

    1. Thank you Trish.I'm not surprised at all that you brought your creative energy to your role in the Hospital...and I love your focus on ending the meeting when it's done, not sitting around for an hour because every meeting in the universe apparently needs to be an hour!

  3. You completed several good points there. I did looking on the issue and found virtually all people should go in conjunction with using your blog.

  4. I love this post. It is true that you must know first the approach that you will be implementing into your meeting to avoid unnecessary stuff. Looking forward for more.

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