Entrepreneur’s Diary – #112 Useless Meetings

“My Post-InterFace life?“

I enjoy telling you about the times when I was active in my job. About what I felt enthusiastic about and about what depressed me. So here I am, sitting in Greece and vacationing, yet writing a small article for my entrepreneur’s diary:

On the negative side, there are, for example, all those many useless meetings I had to/was permitted to attend. Some of them actually lasted the whole day and occasionally the participants did not even want to stop in the evening.

Regardless of the fact, or maybe due to the fact, that the meeting had been going nowhere all day long already. And I – like all the other participants – had no way of influencing the entire round in a useful way.

Whenever I tell these things, I inform my audience that the only consolation with these kinds of meetings was that my “time clock” kept counting the hours. Which means that I was actually reimbursed for my work in those cases with compensation for damage.

Well, this is only partly true and rather a cynical excuse. But then I remember that my own enterprise, too, was full of useless meetings. And there is the question why I allowed this to happen and even attended.

Perhaps it was lack of civil courage? Was I too much of a coward to actually put myself outside the system and break with traditional rules and patterns? Isn’t the obligation to attend meetings part of the enterprise morals and written down in the rules of procedure? And who wants to violate law and order? I never had the courage. Because there was also the desire:

“We need to communicate more with each other!“

And that is something I definitely agree with. Also in retrospect. But it should not happen in lengthy and formal meetings that will then have written minutes – of course because you wish to be on the safe side!

If you need meetings, then they should be short SCRUM-like meetings. If possible, you should not sit down and have them outside the enterprise in a free area.

But talking definitely will no longer make sense if all you do is repeat yourself and if you are not making any headway. In those cases, the only thing that will probably help is a lonely decision and a quick separation.

In a nutshell:
I think the rules and rituals of an enterprise should permanently be questioned. This is especially true for all those meetings, which, more often than not, are also just a consequence of rituals and processes. The questioning should happen all the time and continue all the time, always on an objective level, isolated from individual interests.

And if you find out that you are not making any headway, you need the courage to actually do something about it. Just like, incidentally, KANBAN demands it in its last and – for me – most important rule.

And that is not only true for the enterprise and its projects, but also for politics, for our social systems and for our private lives.

Last not least, I have a very cynical suspicion:
If we did not have all those meetings in our enterprises, all our work-days would end at noon and we would not know what to do with all the remaining time.

(Translated by EG)

For more articles of my entrepreneur’s diary, click here: Drehscheibe!

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