RE: How to...

Subject: RE: How to...
From: Kevin McLauchlan <kmclauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2007 16:10:49 -0400

My observations in-line:

> From: Connie Giordano [mailto:connie -at- therightwordz -dot- com]

> 1) Eliminate status meetings altogether... everyone sends in a status
> report which is compiled and distributed out to the group. As an
> alternative, status reports must be compiled and distributed 24 hours in
> advance of the meeting, and discuss ONLY those items marked as Issues or
> Action Items. The rest of the stuff may be required for archival
> purposes, but you don't need to rehash it when people can read it for
> themselves.

The particular meetings that were failing to get off the ground were
normally very tightly run and took just a half hour to complete. When the
meetings _were_ working, the give and take around conflicting items was
settled far more quickly at the meeting than in multiple cycles of e-mail

> 2) REFUSE to regurgitate any meeting happenings for those who show up
> late, but do provide meeting minutes with action items.

Our version is that anybody failing to attend (a meeting that does proceed)
is wide open to be assigned Action Items.

> 3) Set a company rule that failure to respond to a meeting invite is not
> an option. Accept, tentatively accept or decline, but do not let it sit in
> your Inbox.

A good rule, but would need to come from the top.

> 4) Set a company rule that if the organizer and/or sufficient number of
> required attendees are not in the seats 5 minutes after the planned start,
> all are dismissed.

We were giving it longer, but when key members drift in late, talking
urgently on their Blackberries, or sit down on time but then jump up with "I
have to take this...", or call in from their remote offices, having just
dragged themselves out of _other_ meetings, it takes a few minutes to even
know the status.

> 5) Include the NOT PRESENT invitees as such in the meeting minutes and
> make sure the next level of management gets a copy. Any decisions
> recommended during a meeting without these required attendees should be
> highlighted as awaiting feedback and delayed due to non-attendance.

That's often done, yes.

> I have not put all of these into practice, I've only observed them in
> various incarnations over the years. My general rule of thumb is that 99%
> of meetings are a total waste of time and the other 1% are designed to
> make people feel like they've wasted their time. And yet I go, and
> usually get the critical but grinding job of taking the minutes....
> sigh.....

In this case, the same supremely organized woman who has taken on more and
more project-management responsibility, and who chairs these meetings, also
publishes the minutes... usually within an hour of meeting end... unless she
has another meeting immediately afterward.

Anyway, this is not a particularly TW thread any more. It started that way
when I was looking for some written material on cat-herding or meeting
etiquette to pass along, but now it's gotten very "business general".


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