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« An ounce of loyalty is better than a pound of cleverness | Main | Life is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You Get What You Expect. »

December 05, 2007


Micro-CEO in training

Can't laugh here...this sounds exactly like my company.

I am imagining an analogy to an overweight person who would like to start a diet. On the one hand, current size and daily eating schedule is affecting health and possibly impeding success in daily activities (e.g. reduced athletic ability, too much time spent eating/digesting, or whatever). On the other hand, he loves eating (pleasure) and argues that eating is essential to survival (nutrition).

Both arguements have validity, but of course we understand that the issue is one of balance and optimization. Start by skipping desserts and sugar loaded drinks if these are in excess. One other solution: Eat less per meal, eat more frequently. Another: experiment with eating less meals and see what you miss.

Same thing for meetings. We could meet for 30min instead of 90min and cut meeting time to 1/3. That would require a lot more discipline and prework: cannot be late, cannot allow discussion of opens or stray topics. Good, but it also doesn't reduce the number of fact it could encourage an increase in the number of meetings.

Now try cutting meetings and see what happens. Probably we miss some urgent discussions. However most important communications can still get to us by email, IM, phone calls, or (heaven forbid) talking directly to people if they are actually in your office.

Ultimately the problem of too many meetings goes right up to the question of organizational focus. In my company, "meeting obesity" is actually not the result of too many superfluous "dessert" meetings (though there are a lot of these, too), or due to extensively long "full course" meetings (well I do have to endure a couple of those, too). Rather I believe the problem is simply one of trying to do too many projects at once. Ever try to eat Hot dogs, Nasi Goreng, Sushi, Shark Fin soup, Paellia, and BiBinBap in the same sitting? The result can be anywhere between naseau and gout.
A true gourmet knows that it is wise to savour one meal, one dish at a time.

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