MEETINGS & A New Study of 19,000,000 Meetings Reveals That Meetings Waste More Time Than Ever (But There Is a Solution)

by Peter Economy, Inc. Magazine, 1/11/19.

…According to Doodle’s 2019 State of Meetings report, the cost of poorly organized meetings in 2019 will reach $399 billion in the U.S. and $58 billion in the U.K. This is almost half a trillion dollars for these two countries alone — a tremendous drag on the effectiveness of businesses.

And what are some of the consequences for employees who suffer through poorly organized meetings? According to the report, respondents most often cited:

  • Poorly organized meetings mean I don’t have enough time to do the rest of my work (44%)
  • Unclear actions lead to confusion (43%)
  • Bad organization results in a loss of focus on projects (38%)
  • Irrelevant attendees slow progress (31%)
  • Inefficient processes weaken client/supplier relationships (26%)

The good news is there are things anyone can do to make their meetings better and more efficient and effective. Doodle’s State of Meetings report suggests that doing these four things can make a big difference:

  • Set clear objectives for your meeting
  • Have a clear agenda
  • Don’t have too many people in the room
  • Use visual stimulus such as videos and presentations

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/a-new-study-of-19000000-meetings-reveals-that-meetings-waste-more-time-than-ever-but-there-is-a-solution.html

PRODUCTIVITY & Neuroscience Says Power Naps Work. Why Aren’t We Taking Them? #IncMagazine

by Jeffrey James, Inc. Magazine, 9/25/18.

Neuroscientists have known for decades that a “10‐minute nap results in significantly improved alertness and cognitive performance.” We even know from brain scans specifically how napping makes you smarter, better and faster.

Given all that peer-reviewed evidence, you’d think that CEOs–who no doubt want and expect employees to perform at their peak–would be rushing to make it easier for employees to take power naps.

But you’d think wrong. According to the New York Times, many if not most companies are still forcing people to employ subterfuge–like hiding in their cars or in the restroom–simply to take a brief restorative nap.

What gives? Why do naps remain verboten?

The sad truth: as a class, CEOs are notorious for ignoring science in favor of biz-blab and bullsh*t. Rather than relying on peer-reviewed neuroscience into productivity, CEOs have a depressing tendency to glom onto the latest management fad du jour.

It’s very bizarre, if you think about it. If CEOs made financial decisions with the same disrespect for facts that they give to productivity decisions, CEOs would be rubbing gold dust on dollars to ensure the money comes back ten-fold.

Nowhere is this tendency to swallow malarkey more obvious than with the open plan office, which runs contrary to over three decades of research from some of the world’s finest universities reveals that OPOs massively decrease productivity.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/neuroscience-says-power-naps-work-why-arent-we-taking-them.html

EMPLOYEES & Invest in Them to Enhance Their Productivity

Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time

by Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy, Harvard Business Review, 10/07.

…To effectively reenergize their workforces, organizations need to shift their emphasis from getting more out of people to investing more in them, so they are motivated—and able—to bring more of themselves to work every day. To recharge themselves, individuals need to recognize the costs of energy-depleting behaviors and then take responsibility for changing them, regardless of the circumstances they’re facing.

…People tap into the energy of the human spirit when their everyday work and activities are consistent with what they value most and with what gives them a sense of meaning and purpose. If the work they’re doing really matters to them, they typically feel more positive energy, focus better, and demonstrate greater perseverance. Regrettably, the high demands and fast pace of corporate life don’t leave much time to pay attention to these issues, and many people don’t even recognize meaning and purpose as potential sources of energy. Indeed, if we tried to begin our program by focusing on the human spirit, it would likely have minimal impact. Only when participants have experienced the value of the rituals they establish in the other dimensions do they start to see that being attentive to their own deeper needs dramatically influences their effectiveness and satisfaction at work.

… To access the energy of the human spirit, people need to clarify priorities and establish accompanying rituals in three categories: doing what they do best and enjoy most at work; consciously allocating time and energy to the areas of their lives—work, family, health, service to others—they deem most important; and living their core values in their daily behaviors.

To help program participants discover their areas of strength, we ask them to recall at least two work experiences in the past several months during which they found themselves in their “sweet spot”—feeling effective, effortlessly absorbed, inspired, and fulfilled. Then we have them deconstruct those experiences to understand precisely what energized them so positively and what specific talents they were drawing on. If leading strategy feels like a sweet spot, for example, is it being in charge that’s most invigorating or participating in a creative endeavor? Or is it using a skill that comes to you easily and so feels good to exercise? Finally, we have people establish a ritual that will encourage them to do more of exactly that kind of activity at work…

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2007/10/manage-your-energy-not-your-time

MEETINGS & Polite Ways to Decline a Meeting Invitation

by Liane Davey, Harvard Business Review, 5/19/16.

Start by assessing the value of the meeting. Is the meeting about something important, timely, and worthwhile? …If the value of the meeting isn’t clear from the invitation, reply back with a few open-ended questions before making your decision:

  • “Could you please provide some additional information on the agenda?”
  • “What stage of decision making are we at on this topic?”
  • “How should I prepare for the discussion?”

If it’s clear that the meeting is worthwhile, your next question is whether or not you’re the right person to attend..,

  • “What are you looking for me to contribute at this meeting?”
  • “Who else will be there from my department?”
  • “Who will I be representing?”

Finally, if you believe the meeting will be valuable and that you would make a contribution to the discussions, you need to decide whether or not the meeting is a priority for you right now. How central is the meeting topic to your role? Where does the issue fit relative to your other immediate demands? How unique is your contribution and could your seat be better filled by someone else?

If you can’t say yes to any of the three criteria above, then it’s appropriate to decline the meeting, but tread carefully… Consider a few different options:

Can I stop the meeting altogether? If the meeting failed criteria #1 because you don’t believe it’s set up for success, take a moment to talk with the organizer about your concerns… Try one of the following approaches:

  • “This is an interesting topic. Based on our current year priorities, I’m not sure we’re ready for a productive conversation yet. Would it be possible to push this meeting back and let the working group make a little more progress before we meet?”
  • “I’m looking forward to making some decisions on this issue. From the meeting invite, it doesn’t look like Production is involved. I would like to wait until someone from Production is willing to join. Otherwise, we won’t be able to make any decisions.”
  • “Based on the information in the invitation, it looks like this meeting is for informational purposes. Would it be possible to get a summary sent out rather than convening a meeting?”

Can I recommend someone else? If the meeting is important, but it failed criteria #2 because you’re not the right person for the job … Try floating these options:

  • “I’m flattered that you are interested in my input. I don’t believe I’m the best qualified on this topic. I did a little digging and it looks like Pat would have the necessary context. Would you be comfortable inviting Pat rather than me?”
  • “Given that this is a decision-making meeting, I think it’s more appropriate to have my manager represent our team.”
  • “Thanks for the invite to this meeting. I don’t think I’m required at this point. If it’s alright with you, I’d like to send Jose as my delegate.”

Can I contribute in advance? If the meeting failed criterion #3 (you determined that it was an important topic on which you could add unique value, but attending the meeting doesn’t fit with your schedule or priorities), you have the opportunity to add value in advance…You can respond to the organizer by saying:

  • “This is going to be an important discussion. I’m not able to attend, but I will find some time to share my thoughts so you can include them in the discussion.”
  • “I’m sorry that I can’t attend the meeting. If I prepare you in advance, could I ask that you represent my ideas at the meeting?”

Can I attend for part of the meeting? If one or more agenda items did meet all three of your criteria, whereas others didn’t … You can respond with one of the following:

  • “Thanks for the invite. I think it’s really important for me to be part of the discussion on rebranding. Given a few other priorities at the moment, I’m going to excuse myself once that item is complete.”
  • “Would it be possible to cover the rebranding discussion as the first agenda item? I can’t stay for the entire meeting but I’d really like to contribute on that one.”

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2016/05/polite-ways-to-decline-a-meeting-invitation

 

ASSESSMENT & The 8 Self-Assessments You Need to Improve at Work #HarvardBusinessReview

MANAGING YOURSELF: The 8 Self-Assessments You Need to Improve at Work This Year

by Amy Gallo, Harvard Business Review, 1/20/16.

…we’ve pulled together several of HBR’s best assessments and quizzes to help give you a sense of what you need to work on and how to go about it.

Productivity. Time management is a perennial thorn in most managers’ sides… So before you try out a new program or app, take this assessment to understand your own style and discover productivity tips that like-minded people have found most effective. Then, if you want more information on the different styles, read this article.

Work/life balance… In this assessment, you can compare your priorities with how you actually allocate your time and energy. Once you’ve answered questions about four key areas — work, home, community, self — Wharton professor Stewart Friedman provides practical guidance and a useful exercise for addressing the critical gaps.

Cultural skills… This assessment helps you see key differences in eight areas where cultural gaps are most common, like communicating, scheduling, trusting, and disagreeing — and shows you how you compare with the norm for your culture in each area. The questions and feedback are based on comprehensive research by INSEAD’s Erin Meyer, an expert in cross-cultural management.

Emotional intelligence… With this quiz, you can test yourself on five critical EI skills — emotional self-awareness, positive outlook, emotional self-control, adaptability, and empathy. In addition to your score on each component, Annie McKee of the University of Pennsylvania shares an exercise to help you enhance your self-awareness by getting feedback from trusted friends or colleagues.

You might also take this assessment on emotional agility — the ability to manage your thoughts and feelings. Everyone has an inner stream of thoughts and feelings that includes criticism, doubt, and fear. By answering the questions in this assessment, you can identify your own patterns when it comes to avoiding or buying into those negatives thoughts…

Communication skills…The popularity of our grammar quiz shows just how many struggle with writing. Review the 10 sentences and decide whether you think they’re grammatically correct…

Finance skills…This 10-question finance quiz comes from the HBR Guide to Finance Basics for Managers. When you finish taking it, you’ll see which answers are correct, and why, so you can brush up on key concepts you need to learn to become a more effective manager.

Managing your boss. This assessment asks what you would do in five “managing up” scenarios. After selecting your answers, you learn which approaches experts recommend. You also receive links to further reading on how to cultivate your most important relationship at work­ — your relationship with your boss.

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2016/01/the-8-self-assessments-you-need-to-improve-at-work-this-year

MEETINGS & This Simple Schedule Change Could Radically Increase Your Output #IncMagazine

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Scheduling all of your meetings on one day a week is shown to be more productive. This helps you focus on administrative tasks and prevents those tasks from interrupting your productivity on the other days of the week. Read this insightful Inc. Magazine article for the details.

Read more at … http://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/this-simple-schedule-change-could-radically-increase-your-output.html

TIME MANAGEMENT & How to Overcome the Midday Slump

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2015/07/how-to-overcome-the-midday-slump