It’s the office equivalent of a four letter word – “meeting”. Why has this simple little gathering become such a bad thing in the workplace?
I can imagine the scene in just about every office – the sound of that “ding” from the calendar software, followed by the feeling of approaching gloom, and then, the slow rise from the desk, followed by a very deep breath and finally, the trudge to the conference room.
It doesn’t have to be that way. I know it’s hard to fathom, but there really is one very, very important reason why we must gather together every now and then (and preferably regularly).
It’s for what I call “getting everyone on the same page”.
Think about that one for a second. How many times have you gotten “out of sync” with teammates or other departments, because of a lack of good communication? How many times have you zigged while others have zagged, causing big problems?
Exactly. It can, and does, happen quite frequently in the business world.
Here’s the rub: Do you think these problems can really be solved by e-mails and phone calls? Maybe, but that’s really the equivalent of going 15 miles on a 5 mile road.
The best way to address these issues is with that dreaded meeting. That’s the only way I’ve known to quickly and effectively get everyone on the same page.
“The same page” is a concept that is constantly on my mind as a leader, since I certainly know the consequences if I cannot get my team in that state.
It’s something a leader must not take for granted, like assuming that everyone knows a key deadline, or has the same understanding of a new initiative, or are aware of all the inter-dependencies that flow from their actions.
Because it’s just a fact of life that those e-mails and memos can be misread, or worse, unread.
So you just have to do it, and schedule the meeting. Or click the “accept” button.
And when you are there, don’t turn off – tune into the “getting on the same page” frequency. Tailor your interactions accordingly. It doesn’t matter if you’re the organizer, or a participant.
If the conversation veers from that page, set it back on track – your teammates will thank you for it.
One last thing – if you are very confident that you indeed have everyone on the same page, chances are you don’t even need a meeting, even if it is a regularly scheduled one.
Think of the smiles you’d get when your teammates see that “cancel” notice.