A meeting is a waste of time –unless it contributes to your definite purpose. Why do people meet in business?
- To review recent activity
- To ensure that people are coordinating their work
- To plan ahead
- To consider changes that may happen
- To initiate change
Sometimes these meetings add value to the organization. Often, meetings are called out of a sense of routine.
- “Time for our nine o’clock huddle!”
- “The Monday sales meeting is mandatory for all associates”
- “I am expected at the budge update meeting.”
Some of these meetings are wastes of everyone’s time – except for helping the meeting caller to feel important. Meetings are not about enhancing people’s egos – and they should never be about filling up one’s schedule! A useful meeting will support a strategic purpose of the enterprise.
Do you know the strategic direction of your organization? Many organizations have a small number of strategic initiatives – perhaps three or four. More than four strategies dilute the power of focus. Having only a single strategy may not allow your organization to advance as quickly as possible to a mighty destiny.
Nevertheless, if your organization has four strategic directions, each internal leader ought to make one strategy their primary focus. The work group or division ought to know this strategy and regularly be working on tactics that will take the group toward this direction. One primary focus is powerful.
Every meeting in your organization ought to be aligned with one of those strategies. It is powerful to review the strategic direction at the start of every meeting and then get a 30 second progress report from every member in attendance.
What the leader talks about, others will notice and follow. The work team ought to be talking about the strategic direction and how to make progress, quickly and efficiently.
Project managers, you may serve internal or external clients. Let your team know that you have a strategic purpose to what you are doing. Let every contact point with the client help you support that strategic intent. Show the client that this is your priority – and you will likely be taken seriously when there is a discussion to cut the budget or accelerate the deliverables.
Before the meeting is called, check the agenda. Does a substantial portion of the meeting’s work serve one or more strategic directions? I suspect this happens all the time in Corporate America – useless meetings eat up people’s time. Either decide to cancel the meeting, or make it relevant to the highest purpose of your work.
Don’t waste your time. Your boss may call on you to be accountable. Start with the purpose for the meeting. We all know that meetings are expensive, and few of us think about their complete cost. Meetings can be a great investment of time IF the strategic purpose is observed and advanced. Bring the results home. Leaders – care about your people, but also care about your strategic direction. Meetings can make your team highly effective if your purpose is clear and acted on, regularly.
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Call me at 602-299-0576 to speak at your next project management meeting.