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I’m an Agilist, a former software engineer, a gamer, an improviser, a podcaster emeritus, and a wine lover. Learn more.

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« Some "Bad" Meetings Are Good | Main | Time to Get my Hands Dirty »
Friday
Aug192011

Bad Meetings Are Bad

Meetings that waste people’s time are bad meetings.

The “meetings are a waste of time” meme pops up on my radar every so often, and I’ve seen it floating around again lately. It irritates me. What’s the alternative? On any problem that requires more than one person’s input, communication is the single biggest determinant of success. I have yet to see a better form of communication than a group of people with a whiteboard and an example of whatever they’re working on.

This isn’t to say that all meetings actually promote useful communication. I suspect many of them inhibit it. That’s why The Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making is so fascinating to me. It points out that when “business as usual” solutions fail, a different and difficult process is need to create agreements that work. The facilitator’s role is support people in this process and help them do their best thinking.

At its core, the process is about embodying four fundamental principles:

  • Full Participation
  • Mutual Understanding
  • Inclusive Solutions
  • Shared Responsibility

I suspect that whenever someone says “meetings are a waste of time” it’s because they’ve been in too many meetings that didn’t.




Update

Fitness: Pushups (8-10-7-7-15)
Sun, Moon, and Stars: 500 words, 444 seven-day average, 268 average, 38070 total, 70 words past the goal for the week; 9-day streak

Reader Comments (3)

Have you read the latest Domino mini-book? "Read this before our next meeting"? Very hardcore take on effective meetings, though I think it glosses over one of the hard parts.

August 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRob Donoghue

I have not yet. It's sitting on my Kindle.

August 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterPaul

It's probably only about an hour read. Worth absorbing.

August 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRob Donoghue

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