Productivity Tips From Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos And Steve Jobs
October 18, 2021
August 19, 2021
Work meetings can waste a great deal of everyone’s time.
But the goal isn’t to have as few of them as possible. People often like the interaction — and with the right structure and atmosphere, they can be the productive, collaborative and creative highlight of your day. Unfortunately, most people don’t know how to run meetings; they and fail to bring more thoughtfulness to the process.
As a management consultant who is obsessed with productivity and employee happiness, here’s what I’ve learned about how the best teams do it:
Before sending an invite, ask yourself the questions below to simplify the meeting and determine what’s truly necessary:
In environments of trust and efficiency, colleagues accept or decline meeting invites freely. They do what they consider best for the business. And when those choices are honored and respected, there’s no hidden backlash.
Give yourself and your team true permission to select any of the following responses for every invitation:
If you’re hesitant to decline because of face-to-face desire, consider the legitimacy and optionality of that factor. Sitting next to “The Boss” can help your career, so you can sometimes accept for exposure — and there’s nothing wrong with that. You’re being intentional, and that’s what we want.
Letting yourself experience boredom in a meeting can lead to valuable realizations.
Really think about why you’re bored: Are you the wrong person to be there? Are you redundant with other peers in the room? Were you just scared to decline?
You’ll either determine that work is sometimes boring, but you do serve a purpose in the meeting, or that you’re clearly not contributing or benefitting. When the latter happens, take a pause and say in your head: “SBH” — short for Shouldn’t Be Here.
I hear more wins from the subtle SBH tool than any other meeting technique. It can help us move from common sense (where we all know many meetings are a waste) to common practice (where we actually cancel or decline attendance at those meetings we don’t belong in).
And if too many people are reporting a meeting as SBH, then you know the overall purpose or design of the meeting needs to change.
As you begin to shrink the total amount of meetings you attend and call, make sure you also add some slices of critical white space between each meeting you keep.
Modeled after the high school construct, Hall Time — or a simple 10-minute gap between commitments — means a world of difference to our tired bodies and frazzled minds.
If we assume that our meetings are meaningful, it’s important to digest the ideas and suggestions made within each before moving on. But in trapped back-to-back meetings, it’s like putting food in your mouth all day and never swallowing.
Plus, post-meeting reflection time makes each meeting better than the last. We notice and ask if ideas were shared freely, if progress was made, and if we stayed on track. We learn from our missteps or good choices for next time.
January 26, 2022
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