Meetings can be like government beauracracy…a path to no-where that consume immense amounts of time, energy and patience. Probably the only positive difference is business meetings do not impose new taxes on society. On occasion they are extremely productive, but most just consume time with little to show in the way of results. I try to live by a few simple rules…one of them is if you are going to host or participate in a meeting, you better have something to show for it. Sounds simple, but it is not. Ask yourself, if you sit in a multi-hour (or God forbid, an all day meeting) and nothing happens in followup, why on earth would you commit your time to it??? I see it happen around me all too frequently. I have been there (dare I say even contributed to it?) and can tell you I don’t miss those days in the least. Working out of your home (as Linda and I do at Famous Names) or 6,000 miles away (as I do with my brilliant partners Sam and Samuel at Sweet Squared) means I only do meetings when they are important and needed. We followup too, and I mean we REALLY followup. Otherwise, why bother…life is too short.
I’m on a flight from the UK to the East Cost and was reading a couple of the trade magazines that I should have read already and one of them did an article on the creative process for new color collections. The processes proffered by various companies ranged from lots of people spending quite a few hours, days (months?) in the greatest of detail and endless process to create their offering of the season all the way to one person doing research, spending less than a day with a color chemist, and then spending eight hours (or less) to theme the collection and name it. You will not need to spend much time guessing which approach works best for me (by the way, if the person who was featured on my favored method happens to read this, with my hat in hand, I offer you a deep bow). Please don’t get me wrong, if your process gets you to the promised land, it’s the right process for you. As for myself, the simple approach rules the day.
You know you are in trouble when spread sheets BECOME the decision-making process rather than support it. Now, you have to understand, I LOVE spreadsheets…anyone who has ever worked with me knows that. However, the creative process, the decision making process requires human thought, contemplation and emotion in order to achieve greatness. In my view, spreadsheet dominated decisions suck the life and the culture out of great companies. Once the spreadsheets show up in force, you better take a time out and make sure you are still on your path of enlightenment.
One last thought: Long meetings and lots of spreadsheets tend to run in the same circles. Here is to meaningful meetings balanced with an appropriate number of spreadsheets!
Until next time….