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The Secret to Cutting Down on Meetings

Have you noticed how much is being written these days about the need to do away with so many time-wasting meetings?

Let’s face it, to the delight of type-A introverted leaders everywhere, dull, ineffective meetings are on the way out.

Unfortunately, what is often emerging in their place is “cocooning”; an environment where human interaction is kept to a bare minimum.

But there is a better way.

I call them “Power Conversations.”

You can reduce and even eliminate the “too many meetings” culture without creating a stifling environment of cocooning.

It begins by replacing meetings not with isolation, but with a Culture of Conversation.

Power conversations are not idle times of chit-chat.

These are not coffee-room sessions where last night’s episode of the Big Bang Theory is discussed.

Instead, power conversations are highly charged, dynamic interactions among teammates. They take place when team members actively engage with rigorous, sometimes intense, interactions designed to solve problems and advance projects.

When you get this right, you end up with an energetic culture of highly engaged, solution-focused team members.

To transition either a meetings-dominated culture or a cocooning culture into a Culture of Conversation, it begins with the leader making six essential declarations:

1. Around here, we primarily solve problems together, not alone in your office.

2. Around here, we go and talk to people; we don’t rely on interoffice email.

3. Around here, you don’t need a department head to schedule a meeting in the board room in order for you to gather with your teammates.

4. Around here, power conversations can involve anybody who has something to contribute; you don’t have to have a particular title.

5. Around here, power conversations take place in hallways, offices, common spaces and coffee shops. There’s not a set place.

6. Around here, a power conversation can last 10 minutes or it can take all day.

The idea is not to eliminate every single organized meeting, nor is it to forbid all solitary work.

Rather, it’s to reduce these work habits in order to create an environment where power conversations can flourish.

Try it. You may well discover a more dynamic environment than you’d ever thought possible.

How have you unleashed the power of conversations?  

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