Dilbert on the New Zealand Parliamentary junket to Europe

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I hate meetings – flying to meetings

 - Dilbert by Scott Adams

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I hate meetings: Tips for an effective meeting

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Peter Drucker hated meetings too

Meetings are by definition a concession to a deficient organization.

For one either meets or one works. One can not do both at the same time…

There will always be more than enough meetings…Every meeting generates a host of little follow-up meetings—some formal, some informal, but both stretching out for hours.

Meetings, therefore, need to be purposefully directed.

An undirected meeting is not just a nuisance; it is a danger.

But above all, meetings have to be the exception rather than the rule.

An organization where everybody meets all the time is an organization in which no one gets anything done.

Wherever a time log shows the fatty degeneration of meetings—whenever, for instance people in an organization find themselves in meetings a quarter of their time or more—there is time-wasting malorganization.

Drucker also said:

The senior financial executive of a large organization knew perfectly well that the meetings in his office wasted a lot of time.

This man asked all of his direct subordinates to every meeting, whatever the topic.

As a result, the meetings were far too large.

And because every participant felt that he had to show interest, everybody asked at least one question—most of them irrelevant. As a result, the meetings stretched on endlessly.

But the senior executive had not known, until he asked, that his subordinates too considered the meetings a waste of their time.

Aware of the great importance everyone in the organization placed on status and on being "in the know", he feared that the uninvited men would feel slighted and left out.

Now, however, he satisfies the status needs of his subordinates in a different manner.

He sends out a printed form which reads:

"I have asked [Messrs Smith, Jones and Robinson] to meet with me [Wednesday at 3] in [the fourth floor conference room] to discuss [next year’s capital appropriations budget].

Please come if you think that you need the information or want to take part in the discussion.

But you will in any event receive right away a full summary of the discussion and of any decisions reached, together with a request for your comments".

Where formerly a dozen people came and stayed all afternoon, three men and a secretary to take the notes now get the matter over within an hour or so. And no one feels left out.

Peter Winsley

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