(Transparency is necessary for maximum participation)
(Invite to process effective decisions)
(Transform decisions into results)
In my line of work time and task priority management are two major key success indicators. In today’s world many businesses operate using collaborative approach rather than authoritative and we the Millennials love it! I strongly believe Millennials are the “Kaizens”. Kaizen is a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices and personal efficiency improvements. In the business sense Kaizen refers to activities that continually improve all functions and involves all employees from CEO to the assembly line workers. In other words, Kaizen is a strategy where employees work together proactively to achieve regular, incremental improvements in the process. I truly believe my generation, we are the waste cleaners and process minimalist. Let’s face it my fellow Millennials we are lazy. We don’t want to work long hours, we want to have a balanced life, because we work to live and not the other way around. Our laziness pushes us to improve work flow by eliminating “muda” (Japanese waste). The only way to eliminate unnecessary work flow steps, is to work hard on creating a lean process that will do the work for us in the future.
Information Technology makes it all possible, now we can collaborate via e-mail, phone, conference call, video conference, video calls, chats, telepresence, etc. Like any business model Kaizen has its weaknesses: too many collaborative meetings, with too many people, taking too much time, and delivering too little value. I usually come across two types of meetings: A) Meetings that drive progress, they increase the pace and quality of decisions and actions, they are a catalyst for change. B) Meetings for developing skills and establishing new habits. Often meetings waste time, drain energy, lead to conflict and delay progress. No matter how much support we get from technology, we still sometimes fail to host effective meetings. It is not easy to host a meeting. You must have the experience, confidence or knowledge on how to do it well. Below you will find some insights that will help you create synergy and respect time.
Before the Meeting
Objective: a clearly written statement of the meeting goal, NOT a topic or subject. It is the very specific desired outcome. A meeting’s success can be measured against its objective. Keep the objective simple and focused.
Time-box: participants appreciate a strictly enforced start time and end time. Maintain focus by an enforced deadline.
Context: why this meeting is important, what will be debated, and what people currently think. Include a proposed decision (when appropriate).
Preparation: Required preparation for the meeting. If the participant doesn’t have time to prepare, they shouldn’t have time to attend.
During the Meeting
Positive: successful meetings are positive and motivating. They are an arena of ideas. The focus is on the idea – not the person advocating the idea. People leave excited and committed.
Participative: great meetings are active. Everyone participates, otherwise why collaborate? People are free to decline an invite if they will not add value. People are free to leave if they are not adding value.
Proactive: meetings have a strong bias to action. Actions are emphasized. The meeting closes with a concise recap of the decision and actions.
Leader: creates agenda, ensures preparation is easy. Ensures meetings are focused, fast, positive, participative and proactive. Follows up on an Action plan is necessary.
Participants: Comes prepared. Honours meeting guidelines. Delivers actions.
Consider the Option of No Meeting - “How can it be resolved without a meeting?” Consider a series of informal conversations or email exchanges as an alternative. Reserve meetings for situations where a decision needs to be rigorously tested.
Better or Different - Before proposing a new approach during a meeting ask yourself is the new approach genuinely better or is simply different? Let go of ideas that are simply different and focus on ideas that add significant new value.
Prefer short meetings - Strive for meetings that are 30 minutes or less. You will be amazed at the energy and focus that can be sustained in short meeting.
Seek Underlying Concerns - When participants raise an objection, it is often a symptom of a deeper concern. The only way to truly address the objection is to root out the deeper concern. A prime example is when someone objects to something not because of what is on the table today, but because of something that happened in the past. Seek out and address the underlying concern to successfully move meeting forward.
I always try to perfect my time management skills and in my opinion in today’s world of business effective time operation = great meetings.