In our frenetic world, time is of the essence whether you are running for a train, appointment or a date. “Gotta go” or “gotta jump” are the bywords of our generation. Way back when the wonderful world of microcomputers began, the greatest promise of the era was how much time we were going to save. How is that working out for you?
Since we are so pressed, one becomes more and more aware of wasted time. The classic dilemma is meetings. To start the conversation, I abhor them. To me they are a combination of opining and cover your ass(CYA). How many times have you gone into a meeting where they are looking for input? They don’t want input but they feel they owe it to the masses to be heard. Kind of give them that warm fuzzy feeling all over and they will go home happy.
As the meeting wears on there are new and different ideas expressed. The glares from the cognoscenti after any sort of contrary thoughts is one of disdain or sheer impatience. God forbid you have something clever to add because that makes them look like idiots for not having thought of that in the first place. Name your poison but the statistics are startling.
In corporate America it is estimated that people spend over 40% of their time in meetings. Horrendous duplication of efforts and inclusion. We bring staff and members of the lunatic fringe to make sure everyone is there. As my mind wanders the compass points to due North in Washington,DC
Look at what we have gone through with the Mueller Investigation. I am making no decision on the efficacy of the proceedings but after all those hours of research and testimony the gang of the Left want to start the program all over again. Mueller impressed me as a pretty straightforward and methodical guy even if he was an attorney. Compare that to the rambling showboating committee hearings.
The House version can have up to 30-40 representatives each receiving an allotted time to strut their stuff. The SLR’s are clicking at lightning speed and the live feeds are the things dreams are made of. Let’s just add on two or three in staff for both the solons and the committee itself and you see why things are so screwed up. Think of the man and woman hours that are wasted. The witnesses also have their posses and it drones on for hours.
What was I thinking? That only happens from late Monday to early Wednesday afternoon. Gotta press the flesh you know. And yet there are over 200 committees and subcommittees of our fair mothership. Oh yes I forgot to add all that goes on at the state, county and city levels also. How about schools, churches, clubs and societies?
Meetings done right are great. You have a well thought out agenda, you get to the point and then move on. People have tried meetings where everyone has to stand. That gets it over in a hurry. Others try snacks and pastries. That just adds to the lethargy. The point is the vast majority of us really don’t like them but somehow like other things we just accept them as a part of life.
All of this may sound silly but there are so many hours in the day but more importantly in our lives. People get caught up in the mundane. Imagine the incredible power we have to change things for the better. What if those politicos spent the same amount of time on immigration, or infrastructure or education rather than farting around looking for more skeletons? I am not a Trumper but can’t we have a few moments of sanity?
There should be a time for each one of us to do some deep thinking. The Catholics have retreats but they aren’t particularly in vogue right now. If you are lucky you get a paid sabbatical but that is for the chosen few. Just some time in your day or week where you sit down and just think. The phone gets turned off and you look out over the city or water or mountains and just think. Most will shrug that off as lunacy or trivial. I get it.
Just for a brief period of time think of who you are and where you are situated in these crazy times. Think of your life and question how satisfying it is? Not in monetary terms but in soulful ones. Think of your spouse and kids and grandkids. Close friends. Really meditate on why you are here and how can you in some small way make it a better place. Got a minute? I hope so.
Ted The Great
Harvard Business Review interviewed:
We surveyed 182 senior managers in a range of industries: 65% said meetings keep them from completing their own work. 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient. 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking. 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together.That is truly sad.
Quiet time does not necessarily demand meditation but if practiced, the end results are somewhat startling. Both physically and emotionally.
Ted I get all you’ve said. Agree with a lot of it. But———
How does one gain consensus without meetings How can one be sure that all the best ideas are uncovered and considered In an ‘institutional” co. or in a club, one has to “bring folks along” to get a favorable outcome. Look at the Japanese. How does one govern without meetings. Dictatorship. Me no likeee.
You get my drift. The trick is to run a really good meeting. When I ran meetings, I set an agenda and a time when the meeting started and a time when it ended. And then it ended. Nothing was open ended. And if you were late, you caught up pretty much on your own. BTW—if someone objected to an idea, they had to think of 3 things they liked about the idea before they shot it down. (We let them get away with 2). But that adds positivity to the meetings and reduces negativity.
Just my thoughts. I’m sure I’m way out of date. Cheers P
Hey Ted! Awesome article. I am amazed about how much I relate with you.
Thank you Glad you enjoyed