Who Is Doing What By When
"When it's obvious, that the goals can't be achieved,
don't change the goals, change your actions."
Just for one day try to finish each meeting with "Do we know who will do what by when?", instead of "Have a nice day". At first, this may increase your meetings by 5-10 minutes, but over time it will shorten them and will increase their effectiveness.
One of the most common cold spots in management practice (time-consuming activities with low added value) is ineffective meetings. Those that carried out with inertia. They involve too many people and have vague or no goals at all. Is the meeting about gathering ideas, making a final decision, or presenting a new project? It's not clear.
Since the goal is not mentioned at the beginning, people act impulsively and offer solutions when the decision has already been made. Or participants are asked to decide based on snippets of information from the meeting without preparing in advance. Or one of the worst cases - the meetings turn into an arena for pointing fingers and blowing steam for 2-3 hours, without a break.
At one point, the workday was almost over, and someone trapped managers in ineffective meetings that only contributed to an increase in their current unfinished business and unanswered emails.
If the average duration of an unproductive work meeting is about an hour and at the end of the meeting, say that someone has lost your time, it means only one thing. And that is - that you lost your time alone.
No one can waste your time. You may say that someone lost 5 minutes at the beginning of an ineffective one-hour meeting. But you lost the remaining 55 minutes. Not someone else. Not your manager. Not the unprepared organizer of the meeting. You have lost 55 precious minutes of your life, simply because you have given priority to the unproductive meeting, instead of the actual work that awaits you.
But sometimes you are ready for someone else to "waste your time" just because you use that time to diversify or "switch off" while you are in the meeting.
If you want to well use your time at work and not become part of the mass "calendar slavery" then you will take part in meetings over 5 minutes only if those meetings are meaningful and productive.
Otherwise, you will never have enough time. It will not be physically possible to take part in back-to-back meetings that waste your time.
What is the solution for productive meetings? Two things: 1) The greatest possible simplification of the agenda, 2) Clarity at the end of the meeting about this: "Who is doing what by when?"
If it is clear what needs to be done, but it is not clear who will do it, the action will most likely be swallowed up by the black hole of collective irresponsibility.
If it is clear who and what needs to be done, but no deadline has been set, guess which part of the to-do list will be the deadline without a closing date. In the part that is desirable and will be done only when "there is time".
So, I invite you to close today's meetings not with "Have a nice day", but with "Who is doing what by when?". And only then with "Have a nice day".
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