Part 1 of 2.
Why are both of these opinions so prevalent in most organizations? Is it simply that most of us are surrounded by a bunch of whiners?
No. And (although that guy in the Accounting Dept. may seem to tear-up pretty readily,) it's fairly clear that most people, in most companies, have legitimate complaints about most meetings they have to attend regularly. Because I hear so much about this issue; I thought I’d discuss it a bit in this blog, and again in next week’s, as well.
No one looks forward to wasting their time, but the majority of comments made about meetings are that they fail to accomplish anything of real value. These are the most common issues:
Managers - frequently complain that they don’t have time to have regular meetings. They also say their staffs do not participate in their meetings, and cite that as evidence that no one really wants meetings anyway. Besides; e-mail is more efficient they claim.
Team members - are often dissatisfied because nothing of value is passed on during the meeting. They hate seeing the same colleagues always monopolizing the meeting time with issues which don’t affect others, and it makes them crazy when the boss gets conned by BS’ers.
And other issues come up, as well. These ones are noteworthy:
The meeting as a ‘learning environment’ - Perhaps initiated by someone who believes they’re doing their subordinates a favor; these involve directing them to do things during the meeting which they wouldn’t do in their normal day. Examples included asking them to create and lead PowerPoint presentations to teach others, or perhaps leading discussions about current events or recently read books. Well-intentioned perhaps, but misguided at the very least. There’s a difference between job enlargement and job enrichment.
The meeting as a Detention Hall – These are those after-hours or weekend meetings in which nobody ‘has’ to show up; but everyone knows that they’ll be screwed if they don’t. Often started by a boss who wants the team to know just how important a particular issue is, so (s)he says it must be dealt with even if that means extra hours on the job (usually for no additional pay. Ouch!). May accomplish the set goal but that usually comes at the expense of whatever team spirit existed before. In industries, regions, or companies with high employee turnover, this one can really add to the momentum.
Sharing: Tell the world -
1. Have you had any poor meeting experiences like these? Or worse? Can you describe them for others, (or is simply too painful to revisit)?
2. How are the meetings run within your organization? On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being “shoot me now” and 10 being “I’m the luckiest person in the world”; how do you feel when you called to the next meeting?
Next week we’ll look at one of the most successful approaches for productive meetings.
John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of BusinessSuccessCoach.net, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion dollar organizations and launching start-ups in both the U.S. and Canada. The author of two published books, he is frequently seen providing advice on TV, in magazines, and newspapers.