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  • Writer's pictureBruce Langevin

Reclaim that 10! Manage Your Calendars – Balance Your Working Life

I recently published a short video sharing a key insight we gleaned from our recent survey, Embracing Tomorrow’s World Today. Specifically, the new reality of virtual leadership and back-to-back-to-back meetings!

We make the point that it is imperative that we reclaim that all to short, but important 10 minutes between meetings!

As I usually do, I shared the video with a few close colleagues to get some initial feedback, and I received some interesting commentary.

Two mid level managers I have worked with in the past suggested to me they had no control over their calendars. Let me share some context.

Jerry, who scheduled this important meeting, pops up your computer screen apologetic for his delay, and asks a simple question to those assembled – “Can someone remind me why I called this meeting?”

Do you know anyone like that in your current organization?

Most people realize how important it is, especially as a leader, to be on time to meetings – especially if you asked for it. Being late on a regular basis sends all the wrong messages.

No one intends to be running late or rushing from one conference room to the next, and yet most of us do it every day. Too many wear a packed schedule as a medal of honour.

One of the often-overlooked casualties of 2020 in our working world, is the re-definition of back-to-back-to-back. We no longer rush between buildings or conference rooms, but rather our meetings come to the screen on the desk in front of us. The impact of this virtual swing is far more telling than it seems on the surface.

We need to reclaim that all to short but important 10 minutes between meetings!

Having any breaks between meetings consumed by easy availability, will continue to impact our performance and effectiveness as team members and leaders. To start with,

many people hold the mistaken belief that being perpetually late sends the message “I am in demand” “I am super busy!” In truth, the message it sends is that my time is more important than yours –

Teams with leadership that sends that type of messaging systematically underperform, and often struggle with reaching its full potential.

Equally important, without adequate time to prepare, real productivity from meetings is far more difficult.

Before the next meeting, spend the time to justify its importance.

Do you really need a meeting, or has it just become too easy to click on a few names and launch a virtual chat?

Spend that same planning time to think through who needs to attend. Ensure you are inviting players and not just interested or in some cases not interested spectators.

Finally, plan the agenda and be clear on what the expected outcomes are, while actively engaging all participants.

So, not radical revelations that differ very much from best practices for leading successful in person meetings. The difference is that our current virtual reset has magnified the consumption of our working hours, and in doing so, impacted the quality of our productivity.

The original suggestions from my middle management friends needs to be rethought. Of course you have control. You can suggest a start time 15 minutes later than requested or perhaps ask for clarification as to why a meeting is required.

The real question is whether you are prepared to allow ease of access to our time to hinder your performance, or will you set the bar much higher by modeling the importance of being prepared for those you wish to lead.

Something to think about.

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