Yesterday my friend Heather Bussing posted a link to a great little post by Scott Berkun titled ‘What Work Traditions Need To Go Away?‘ There’s loads of good stuff in the post, and in particular the challenge to ‘hour long meetings by default’, caught my eye. Last week I ran a workshop called ‘It’s Good to Talk – So Why Don’t We?’ for clients of the law firm Boyes Turner. The session was a mix of culture, behaviour and method around one of my favourite subjects, having more productive conversations at work.
During the workshop we observed that typically, people allow their diaries to be filled with back to back meetings, from 09:00 to 10:00, from 10:00 to 11:00 and so on, often running right through the day. I’m curious, how do you get from one meeting that finishes at 10:00 to another that starts at 10:00? Without the benefit of time travel, which I’m pretty sure is as yet not invented, you can’t. And at what point during your 09:00 meeting do you mentally disengage from what is going on around you in order to prepare for your 10:00? You can see where this is going, can’t you? Straight to some kind of Outlook Calendar invite infested, counter productive, unhealthy hell. And yet you persist with it. I persist with it. We all persist with it.
During the workshop, the short term fix we proposed was, if meetings are to start on the hour, then they need to finish by five to the next hour, at the absolute latest. Granted – this is a sticking plaster solution to a much deeper slavish cultural attitude, but at least this way, you get five minutes to walk from your 09:00 to your 10:00.
The Workplace Myth theme has also been on Neil Usher‘s mind too. Neil has co-created an wonderful Storify centred on #workplacemyths. It is recommended reading, festooned as it is with humour, agony, cartoons and a wonderfully sad video called Misery Bear Goes To Work.
I love how the separate togetherness of the Internet threads all this wonder together, and I encourage you to check out Scott’s post, and Neil’s emerging Storify. I’d love to hear from you too, if you have the time of course 😉