After all the weekends, public holidays, your own vacations and a few ‘not-feeling-very-well’ days are taken out of your year you’ll have a little over 200 days left to do your real work, and I’ve not counted travel time in any big way yet. If you’re in management of some description, expect about 80 of those days to get sucked up with meetings (conservative figure). Executives report about half of their meetings are a waste of time or half the time is wasted. That’s at least 40 days (or 2 work months) lost. Gone.
One tried and tested way to overcome inefficiencies in the workplace is to facilitate ‘teamwork’. No surprises there. However, taking this one step further, it is the benefits of ‘collaboration’ that has recently piqued the interests of the leaders we speak with around the Asia Pacific region. Collaboration extends the teamwork element to include other company departments and external parties who can add value to business planning and process. The success of real collaboration depends on a workable, pragmatic definition combined with a high commitment level of leaders to ‘talk it’ and ‘walk it’ every day.
This may cause some tensions in organisations where new generations of managers from Mumbai to Manila to Melbourne are pushing the leadership to be more open and collaborative, but some leaders are unsure of how to make it work. In cases where leaders have never experienced what it’s like to effectively collaborate during their early management years, they may be under pressure to ‘make it up’ when they reach leadership status. It’s not enough to simply invite a dotted-line group of colleagues into your team meeting to fire off some slides at each other. That’s where you lose your 40 days. But help is never far away.
It becomes a culture
The most effective collaboration happens not in a one-session-wonder but in the longer term by blending conversations in and between meetings whether they are in person or virtual. Add to the recipe some organised informal social events to build rapport and trust between people and collaborative behaviour starts to happen on its own. It becomes a culture.
Co-creating collaboration rules that people can understand and respect encourages a far more effective use of time when executives come together. Meeting times will begin to fill with planned conversations, appropriate thought provoking challenges and well managed idea sharing. Leadership endorsement of a collaborative way of working enables people to get down to business without the fear of repercussion when organisational boundaries are crossed. When communicated, implemented and practiced well, collaboration can inspire new and advantageous ways to work.
4 Steps to a Culture of Collaboration
- Relegate the top-down ‘Tell and Sell’ approach. Unless you do it right, it’s history.
- Open up problem solving and strategy planning to a wider audience.
- Use a variety of meeting environments and conversation techniques that move towards your outcomes.
- Capture and share outputs in creative ways to generate genuine interest and stimulate faster alignment and decision-making.
For leaders willing to make the commitment to move away from the current time-suck of painful meetings and work in a truly collaborative fashion, the potential gain is not only more time but also a huge range of meaningful and measurable benefits that come when people work effectively together.
40 days to play with
When you tell your boss or your shareholders you’ve found a way for everyone to work 2 months extra this year through an honest and clever approach to meetings, watch your stock rise. What will you do with your 40 extra days this year?
If you want to stop time-sucking meetings and move to effective, engaging meetings give John Ogier a call in Singapore +65 8244 0244 or complete the contact form. He will get back to you as quickly as he can.
To contact our UK, EU and global team call us at +44 (0)1628 471 114 or complete the same form. We can all help you transform your meetings. And don’t forget Scribing Magic supporting your visual thinking. John can help with that, too.