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HRHeadStart #25: Meeting Madness; Personal Productivity; Networking Skills
The Talent Agenda
We already lived in world overloaded with meetings before the pandemic and now, we are truly experiencing meeting madness! The absence or reduction in commutes and the need to move between physical meeting rooms has made it incredibly easy to pack our days with back-to-back meetings. The result: overloaded, anxious, overwhelmed and exhausted employees. The perfect backdrop for creativity and productivity, right?
Research shows that collaboration and productivity improve when we use meetings judiciously and scale back.
HR can shift managerial mindsets and practices around meetings by creating guidance on the types of meeting, their value, cadence and ways to run them. We can facilitate education on asynchronous ways of working or conducting status meetings using tools like Teams, Slack etc. And we can create buy-in by running small experiments to demonstrate the value created by reducing meetings.
As we get pulled into meetings after meetings, how do we create space for doing creative work? How do we find time for thinking deeply about problems we truly care about and where we can make a difference? The relentless demands on our time undermine our ability to think deeply and creatively.
A powerful habit is to use the first 90 minutes of the working day to work uninterrupted on the most important thing. This is a way of deliberately focusing our attention on the most complex issues, which will otherwise be consumed by more urgent but less intellectually demanding and valuable priorities.
P.S. If you are wondering why 90 minutes (and not 60 or 120), check out this research on productivity.
A Productive Workout
A workout is a great way to create mindspace for processing and learning new ideas. And it primes you for creative thinking. For your next walk, run or workout session, take along Adam Grant from Wharton to learn about how to get better at networking. Admittedly, I struggled with networking early on in my career. I realized that networking, as widely practiced, is largely transactional and that's what frustrated me the most. But, it is actually all about giving, rather than expecting to get something. Be generous with your time, energy and expertise to build deeper relationships. Grant has put together a helpful set of questions to help you reflect on how you network.
We should not treat others how we expect to be treated by them, but instead how they expect to be treated. Make an effort to understand people and where they are coming from. You will likely end up with a very meaningful and helpful network.