Quite surprisingly, in organisations that have become very complex and adaptable to constantly changing environment, meetings are often their Achilles’ heel. Various sources point to enormous waste of time and money through poorly prepared and inaptly run meetings, in which executives and teams spend thousands of hours every year. If a meeting is not well prepared and turns to chaos on the day, time is wasted, ideas are lost, and the problem remains unsolved. Anybody’s working time has a cost to it, so it is clearly possible to count how much money has been lost in unproductive meetings.
At a deeper, more emotional level, bad meetings are frustrating, positive energy goes wrong. People often leave meetings confused, disengaged, upset or angry, if they had just gone through a clash during a meeting. It takes a while to get back to their work and their productiveness may have suffered for the rest of the day.
Now coming to more complete change processes, any change will touch various stakeholders in different ways. There will be gains and losses, real or perceived ones. Support from some corners and resistance from others is guaranteed. It is hard if not impossible to go through change without talking about it, with everyone concerned. The best formula for talking is a workshop that has a structure, focus and a defined result, bringing all interested stakeholders to the table (or a room without tables but a lot of wall space).
Sometime ago, we facilitated a workshop for Agile Community in Warsaw, around the following focus question: “What bothers Product Owners?” The workshop brought in a group of Product Owners and other Agile professionals, to map issues, difficulties and problems and experienced by the POs. One specific answer to the focus question was “aversion to meetings”.
Does it sound familiar? Do your teams, or yourself, suffer from aversion to meetings? Perhaps it is not aversion but still the meetings could be better. If so, let us know.