We love the results of a well-run company. And a well-run company is very good at how they go about their business. And critical to going about their business is the ability to meet wisely. Wisely means: often enough to get things done, with enough focus to get those things done. It means that the meetings are well-run, with a clear agenda, yet with built in time to bounce ideas around.
In other words, a person who knows how to effectively run a meeting is worth a lot to a company.
But… for many… we hate meetings! People seem to hate meetings; to make hating meetings a national pastime. People really hate on meetings. They are: a waste of time, boring, too long. The complaints just go on and on.
There’s a parallel with business book reading. I think every manager, leader, owner, aspiring career person should be reading constantly. But I know, from years of experience, that a fair number of business books – business books with important and useful information – are “work” to read. Boring, not all that well written. To find a good business book that is well written, engaging, fun to read, and valuable and useful… well, you feel like you’ve won the lottery every time you discover such a book.
Meetings are critical. The rhythm of meetings (see Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish and Rhythm by Patrick Thean for the importance of the rhythm of meetings – read this blog post, and this one)… The rhythm of good, well-run meetings makes a company effective, heads off problems, and keeps everyone focused, on the same page.
I’m a fan of the Jeff Bezos practice at Amazon to begin meetings with 30 minutes of silence, with everyone reading the same document, pen in hand, mind fully engaged. Brilliant! (Read this blog post).
But, it is probably sadly true that many, many, many meetings across the corporate world are poorly run, at times a waste of time, too long, boring… So, I had to smile when a friend sent me this photograph. Look carefully at it.
This is a photograph showing the results of a new directive for at least one team at Pinterest. The complaints had come so often about boring, time wasting-meetings, so the team leader just decided – from now on we will meet on the floor, body down. You have to raise your head to listen and talk — “Planking” Meetings. It definitely accomplished one goal – it shortened the meetings.
A little extreme, perhaps.
Here’s the challenge. Have meetings. Have plenty of meetings. Maintain a good, effective meeting rhythm. But, put your best thought into how to run that well-run meeting. Your success probably depends as much on this as on any other part of your work-day calendar.