Why do you do meetings in such an extraordinarily wasteful way?
Perhaps because it makes you feel good. You get seen to be busy, involved, making things happen, even if the result of your time together produces disengagement, poor decisions made, and time wasted. Or perhaps because you’ve taken the form of meetings to be a fixed feature of the world – a ‘truth’ that is self-evident, unquestionable, just ‘the way things are done’.
But, simply put, meetings are just something that somebody made up. And you then took on. And, consequently, there is no ‘right’ way to meet.
Which means when you find yourself, as so many do, locked in stultifying, oppressive meeting practices – that have you bored, overstretched, checking out, distracted, attending when you’re not needed, or when you don’t wish to be there – you’re complicit in keeping things that way.
Unless you choose to speak up. Unless you choose to change things.
Which you could. If you stopped insisting that the way you do meetings is simply the way things are. And if understood that instead that meetings are an invention, ripe to be reinvented.
For some powerful, provocative support in undoing your assumptions about what meetings are for and how to go about them, take a look at Al Pittampalli’s book Read This Before Our Next Meeting. You’ll see a whole new way of thinking about what meetings are for, and why most of them are an unnecessary, wasteful distraction.