Al's book highlights all that is wrong with the `traditional meeting' and suggests a better, more productive way to do business through the `Modern Meeting`. It's almost the opposite of the continual, daily meetings promoted within "Mastering The Rockefeller Habits" by Verne Hamish.
Describing Microsoft Office email appointments as `weapons of mass interruption', Al SCREAMS that it is too easy for people to call a meeting... without thinking or caring about the impact it will have on others. "Its simply what work is about."
Pittampalli believes meetings should be held AFTER a decision has been made, but only if you are willing to change your mind.
I especially like the summary made by other Amazon book reviewer, "Furthermore, [Pittampalli] points out how meetings have become stalling tactics and havens for complacency and collective indecision in too many organisations around the world. Too many meetings with too many people (or the wrong ones) leads to inaction, compromise and mediocrity. `Less talk, more action' should be the new mantra.
Key lessons and methods of enacting a "modern meeting":
- If you make a decision and will not change your mind... write the memo, don't call a meeting. If you think you may change your mind, call a meeting to discuss your decision. Invite only those who are affected directly by your decision.
- brainstorming sessions are NOT meetings; but be clear on what you are "storming" and invite ONLY those who can help\
- Circulate "homework/pre-meeting work" reading materials before the meeting; insist that everyone read them beforehand. If they haven't done the reading, they have "elected" to not have a say at the meeting or ask "could you remind me again...". Information meetings are a waste... read your email and the memo.
- Just showing up is not good enough. Be engaged and contribute... if not, you may not be asked to attend next time.
- Use a timer; finish on time (I just bot a "T.I.M. Timer"; TIM = "Time Is Money")
- My favourite, which I implemented almost 2 years ago... the person calling the meeting should also take their own notes and follow things up personally.Circulate the minutes ASAP with listed action items. Flag for follow up.
Al's manifesto rules summarized below:
(1) Meet only to support a decision that has already been made. (2) Move fast. End on schedule. (3) Limit the number of attendees. (4) Reject the unprepared. (5) Produce committed action plans. (6) Refuse to be informational. Read the memo, it's mandatory. (7) Work with brainstorms, not against them.
The above may no be well received, but hold yourself accountable to these rules for running your OWN meetings... protect your time and set an example for others.
I have been extremely frustrated with meetings in my organization and a lit of people look at me as if I am crazy to not go along with their foolishness. You have saved lots of money on therapy. I am not crazy! They are.
I bought this book off of a recommendation from a friend. Quite a ruthless approach to meetings while not being too pragmatic. The ideas and concepts presented here don't seem to mesh well with Agile principles