In physics, the first law of thermodynamics states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. And it is still true today. But in organizational culture the opposite is true: energy can in fact be created or destroyed. Yes. At every point in the discharge of our daily roles in our workplaces, we are either creating or destroying energy. Not in the way of mass matter but in our attitudes and energy of interactions. It is called the law of organizational thermodynamics.
And in no greater fashion does this play out in today’s world of work, than the manner in which a chunk of working hours is spent doing countless meetings — both Intra-meetings between colleagues, and inter-meetings between staff/(consultants/labour group/regulators and other external stakeholders). In fact I jocularly say that in today’s world, some people practically meet for a living.
If we have agreed that this approach to the world of work is indispensable, then we have got to ensure that it is producing the right kind of results. In reality, the draw back a lot of times is that the typical organization spends tons of man-hours in these interactions with not so much commensurate value created. Meetings must be intelligently managed. At the base, they must be driven by purpose and clarity.
The idea is that we cannot get more from a meeting than we are willing to put into it. And every meeting is only as effective as the advance preparation that has been made in the way of knowing clearly what we want to get out and what we are going to put in, and who will be responsible for what and what will a successful outcome look like. It is not a smart idea to go into a meeting with the assumption that when we see what we are aiming at, we will identify it. You don’t prototype such things…at the least, it is important to have a vague sense of what you are in pursuit of.
Both parties should have individually thought through along these planes, before they come to the table so that synergy can happen and energy can be created. Like they say, it takes two to tango; if I bounce the ball to you and you are not able to bounce the ball back with greater momentum, then energy is lost.
No matter how much of a haste that we are in, it is important that we spend good time reflecting about our thoughts and what we are in search of before we meet someone we are hoping to get it from.
If the meeting is worth holding, then maybe it’s worth preparing for. Let’s not waste our time!