Cutting out the bullshit

I have a rule… after many years of wasting my life in meetings where nothing gets done and there’s always a protagonist who wants to own the stage I decided no more! Enough is enough! I’m getting my life back, my work done and my happy smile back on my face! I call it the 15 minute challenge. Rarely have I been in a meeting that needed to be longer, yet there this convention that a meeting should at least last an hour! I say no! A meeting on a single issue… 15 minutes, a workshop for facilitating ideas, fine grab an hour tops, and a demo… fine, 2 at the most but it better be good!

So here’s what I do…. as soon as the waffling starts I stop it! What I often find… people haven’t done their research and so we spend half an hour getting people on the same page! Nope! Not in my world buddy! If they haven’t done it, I end the meeting… postpone it until everyone knows what’s going on, if it happens once, it won’t happen twice. Someone wants to waffle, I give them 2 minutes tops and then butt in… normally to the relief of the others in the room! Sorry, we ain’t getting paid for that! Okay, it comes across as polite questioning rather than “stop it!” Which is generally what I’m screaming in my head. Then the planning begins, the actions get handed out and everyone goes away with something to do. My pet hate is people in the room who have a lot to say but nothing to actually do!

Perhaps it’s a Mum thing, or a bitch thing, or both, but my time is precious, they don’t pay me to listen to the poorly researched stuff happening in a cloud of myth and nothing get sorted. I remember one particular place I worked at who had this meeting every few months that I never needed to go to because the other guy did it, it used to go on for at least half an hour after the time limit and yet the actions were months old! My lucky day came when I needed to chair it, I was on my way out to the new place at this point. My delegates turned up disinterested, we ran through the incomplete actions and after 10 minutes had left the room, a nice tracker for actions and a week to respond followed. Because, what is the point in giving actions if they’re not going to get done? That month, shit got done…

It’s not really rocket science when you work out that people are better off doing work at their desks, with time to carry out the actions from the last meeting and prepping for the next. If you ask anyone who works probably anywhere, their biggest bug bare is meetings all day and no time to do anything. Not in my world.

Personally I think that 15 minutes of, what’s broken? What’s the plan? And who’s doing what? Is plenty of time to work stuff out and spring to action. I often wonder where people get the idea that a long meeting pouring over things that actually half the people in the room don’t care about is a good idea. I think some of it is that bit of mentality of, meeting means important. If my meeting was long it was very important and therefore I’ll drag it out unnecessarily to prove that it was. If your people are organised they should know what they’re doing, they should know the very point at which they hand over the work and you should be there to make sure that happens. I always used to get told “less time gassing, more time thinking” when I was a kid, and actually that’s good advice. If we knew we had a meeting on a new regulation a week ago then we should all know what it’s about and why before we even get in the room. Is it a Man versus woman thing? No I don’t think it is, it’s probably an introvert thing. There’s time to talk, and you need to double that for the time you need to shut up and listen, then stuff gets done.

Now to conquer the world… recon I can have a plan together in about 15 minutes provided everyone keeps quiet…


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