When people go through our training in matrix management, virtual teams and global working they leave equipped with some new ideas and a range of tools that they can use to work more effectively, cut out unnecessary costs and deliver faster within a complex environment.
However when they go back to work with radical ideas on how to simplify and improve their meetings they find themselves sitting with a group of colleagues who haven’t had the same experience. It can be hard to overcome inertia and persuade people to change.
When we train individuals we have a huge impact on them, but it’s very hard for them to then drive change amongst the majority of their colleagues.
A fairly prosaic example is meetings, we all know that business meetings can be boring and irrelevant but as we become more global and more integrated the number of meetings and the cost of those meetings can increase rapidly. Everyone is dissatisfied, but it’s very difficult to change the meetings culture of an organisation that operates globally and has tens or even hundreds of thousands of employees.
Many people already know how to run the perfect meeting, but they rarely attend any that are well run.
This is more a challenge of embedding sustainable change rather than building skills. We need to intervene in the way we run meetings across the whole organization – potentially thousands of meetings every single day.
For sure, tools and techniques are part of this, learning how to identify relevant outcomes, unnecessary participants and more effective meetings etiquette’s is part of it. However there are a lot of cultural side-effects around meetings. People don’t only attend meetings to get things done, they attend for networking, visibility and to feel involved.
If we want to make a sustainable change in the way we meet across a large organizations we need to find more effective ways to deliver these valuable by-products.
Visibility is an example, there are far better ways for people to be visible than sitting in the back of an irrelevant meeting where they have little to contribute. However, if meetings are our only mechanism for enabling this, then it will continue to happen.
Sustainable change requires change campaigns, new mind-sets and new tools. We also have two change bad habits that we fall into over many years of work. Without a sustained period of embedding the change people will usually default back to badly run meetings because it’s extra work for the meeting organizer. It sometimes seems easier to waste the time of 12 other participants rather than spend some of your own time planning properly.
You can find out more about how to embed sustainable change in the way we meet, travel and decide by talking to one of our specialists.