Ray Dalio runs the investment firm Bridgewater. He is one on the top 100 wealthiest people on earth. Yet, he still maintains a constant strive for improvement.
Dalio wants ideas to rise in his organization. To create an idea meritocracy. Not only is this hard to do when in a corporate meeting system, it becomes even harder when working with intimidating people of stature.
Bridgewater implemented the dot collector system. There anyone in the company would observe behavior and rate their performance. Simply entering a 1 to 10 with a brief description of what you observed. The individual reviews the feedback later and reflects on the message. Dalio now swears by how the approach created a candid culture of improvement.
The purpose of meetings is simply to exchange information. To align on the right goals. Thus, enabling the organization to work together.
So why are meetings executed so horribly? They drone on for hours with people not paying attention. People have trouble communicating in a one-on-one situation. In a larger setting people, it gets even worse.
Coupled with communication limitations is the lack of preparation for meetings. A popular theory suggests throwing smart people in a room together to see what comes out of it. This inevitably leads to more meetings. Leading to less time to prepare to run an effective and efficient meeting and perpetuating the problem.
Meetings represent many things to different people. Some view it as a chance to sit at the big table, to have influence with the organization. Others see meetings as an annoyance.
Work in the 21st century is scheduled around meetings. It should be the other way around. The purpose of work is productivity, why do we give so much weight to meetings?
Meetings also represent an interruption. How many times have you been humming away at work only to have to stop your progress to go meet? Meetings are the number one killer to productivity. Knowing this, hold as few as possible and when you do make sure they have an agenda, are facilitated, and assess the effectiveness of them.
One of the worst feelings is breaking a good work rhythm to go to a bad meeting. Events that lack clear purpose and a desired outcome are administrative pornography that only satisfies the incompetent. A candy topper is if no one is prepared that further promulgates the problem.
For meetings, structure to only focus on one point with a desired outcome. Then drive the meeting to the goal line. Stick to the time allotted and never go over. Meeting that overrun create organizational chaos for all the direct and indirect attendees.
Lastly, prep the agenda and establish expectations that everyone prepares beforehand. Enable the ability to take notes and document progress. Then schedule breather blocks of 15 minutes in between meetings to ensure the day doesn’t blend together.
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