Ask Paul: I cancelled 8 of my last 10 staff meetings because they included only information sharing. Now, my managers say they miss the opportunity to interact with their peers. Thoughts?
Thank you for the question, Wes.
First, I give you credit for choosing to respect the time of your managers by being thoughtful about whether or not to meet. Questioning the value of sharing information is also a step in the right direction.
Second, the path to making your meetings a competitive advantage is bound to have some twists and turns. The point is to get on the path and realize it’s an ongoing journey.
Third, here’s what I suggest you do next:
Thank the managers who are pushing back on the cancellation of the meetings. It’s healthy to have a people who will question the boss.
Set aside some time in your next meeting to ask them what they miss by not meeting regularly.
Ask them what they think is a productive use of their time—what conversations need to be on the agenda.
Discuss information sharing as an agenda topic rather than other means of sharing information such as e-mail messages or printed memos.
Agree to make the changes suggested if they make sense to everyone, including you.
Ask them to help you continue to ensure that the meetings you and they schedule are truly helping move the organization forward.
Wes, you clearly are on the right path—a path where the end point is that people never want to miss your meetings!
They won’t want to miss because they know that:
When you schedule a meeting, the meeting is necessary.
You will not put something on the agenda unless it deserves the group’s attention.
They can decline if their attendance is not critical.
If not invited, they can still provide input.
You have a deep respect for their time.