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Here I Sit – Waiting for a Meeting to Start

May 13, 2010

   Yep, it’s 1 o’clock, and no one from the team of 12 is here yet.  I ponder as to why this seems to be a common theme lately?  I was always raised to believe that you are “on time” if you show up 5 minutes early.  So, I show up, turn on the lights, make the calls for phone-ins, turn on the computer, and overall, just get ready for a productive meeting.  I also believe that you should start on time, finish on time or sooner, and have an agenda.  What’s wrong with me?  [tweetmeme source=”@Aidan_Foley” only_single=false]

Lately, a majority of the teams just don’t show up.  Granted, some have valid excuses, such as vacation, a more pressing matter, or even a conflicting meeting, but shouldn’t they let you know before the meeting, not after, when you let them know that they were missed?  I went out on a limb, and even checked with my peers, and my boss, and it’s happening to them as well.  Hmm?  Then, we have to track down individuals to get the information we need in order to proceed as a team.  Seems counterproductive to me.  What’s wrong with me?

We, as Project Managers, or Design Leads, typically have weekly agendas that cover most everything that keeps the project on track, such as:

  • Technical action item list
  • Scheduling updates
  • Labor charging actuals
  • Manpower allocation versus forecast
  • Any contract modification status
  • Financial billing milestones
  • Risk and opportunity
  • Other issues

Our company has even gone through a recent 5S (Sorting, Straightening, Sweeping, Standardizing, and Sustaining) transformation of the conference rooms.  Frankly, I think it’s an overkill for a conference room, but that’s a story for another time.  🙂  But, right next to the light switch is, what I refer to as, the Rules of Engagement for a productive meeting.  I’ve even pulled it off the wall to remind the team about promptness, common courtesy, professionalism, leaving the egos at the door, etc.  After reading it, I get the “look.”  What’s wrong with me?

Granted, with the recent economy, people tend to be on the ragged edge due to longer hours, and not enough support staff.  But, I fail to see where a weekly half hour meeting is a show stopper for them.  I’ve even solicited suggestions as to ways to make the meetings more productive in order to get better participation.  All I get is the “blank stare”.  I feel though that with Summer right around the corner, it may even get worse.  At this point, I’m wondering what to do next.  What’s wrong with me?

Now that I’ve identified some “bad meeting indicators”,  it’s time to do something different.  I simply can’t afford to have my teams turn off their brains, arriving late, or finding excuses to skip the meeting.  My meetings are held frequently enough … so, that’s not the problem.  I truly believe that an effective staff meeting is more than a collection of bodies breathing the same stale air in the same room.  It’s really about a meeting of brain-storming, full engagement of everyone, and unlocking the door to team improvement.  Well, it’s time to go, I have another meeting to go to ….  🙂

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