More Meeting Rant

(responding to someone elses post) Interesting how this thread twists and turns. From Management Waste, to meetings as waste. As always, the impact a person can make on the culture of the organization is directly proportional to the influence they can exert. Some can achieve influence by positional power, others by information, and others by tact.

Along the lines of removing waste (or time/effort/morale) by improving meetings, here is more to think about:

Womack and Jones outline the five principles of Lean Thinking in the Preface (pg. 10) of their book by the same name. The first principles is "precisely specify value by specific product,".... My wish is for people to 'precisely specify value' of each meeting. Then arrange the meeting accordingly. Actually applying all five principles to each meeting might be an interesting exercise for Lean advocates. I guess 'Pull' would involve some marketing (advocating the benefit) for the meeting.

I usually ask two questions about meetings. First is when someone wants to call a meeting - 'what do you want as an outcome of this meeting?' Or some derivative of that question. The second question is when I am asked to attended a meeting -  'what value can I contribute to the meeting.' Both produce some interesting conversations. And I will confess to being a meeting tourist at times.

The story about Caterina Fake, and everyone drinking 16oz. of water before each meeting, reminds me of a saying I heard in the 80s about creating presentation/training - 'The mind will absorb what the butt will endure.' My personal time conversion is for no meeting to last for more than 30 minutes, and training modules for no more than 45 minutes (note: exceptions are made for 'workshop' or 'team event' type activities).

Going back to the fundamentals is enlightening and fun. The basics of Lean as outlined by Womack and Jones, and the utilization of basic human needs is a good start. However, we can step even further back into the realm of respect. Respect of self and respect of others. One of my peeves about poor meetings is not starting on time. Here is an excerpt I found that best describes how I feel.

From a book titled - 'The Servant: A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership' by James C. Hunter,  Pg 115

"People who are late drive me nuts!" the coach blurted out.  "I am actually enjoying the fact that time is respected here because I like to know what to expect.  To answer your question, Simeon, I pick up several messages when someone is late.  One message is that their time is more important than my time, a rather arrogant message to be sending to me.  Being late also conveys the message that I must not be very important to them because they would almost certainly be on time for an important person.  It also communicate to me that they are not very honest because honest people stick to their word and follow through with their commitments, even time commitments.  Being late is extremely disrespectful behavior and is also habit forming."  The coach took a deep breath after her speech.  "Thank you for allowing me to preach."

I guess the same thinking could be attached to ending a meeting on time, or having a detailed agenda, or pre-arranging room setup, or all the other aspect of conducting an efficient and effective business meeting?

We can go back even further into the fundamentals. However, I will let other people carry that torch.

 Dave Nave & Associates 2017   -