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    Entries in meetings (31)

    Monday
    Jun032019

    Minutes are meaningless

    We still use an archaic 18th Century practice of capturing ‘little notes’ or minutes in our meetings ... in our 21st Century workplaces made up of 21st Century people.

    It's crazy. We're still using 18th Century meeting procedures too!

    Tired old structures and systems that slow things down, put us to sleep and carve away at interest and engagement. Those old style meetings don’t make sense. And neither do the minutes from those meetings.

    It’s time to make a cultural change in how you make sense of information in meetings. Taking, making and sharing minutes is an utter waste of time, an activity bottleneck and a momentum killer. In meetings, don't just document decisions - the act of making sense involves more than this.

    Minutes are dead and distract us from the real work. (Ok unless you need them legally e.g. a board meeting or committee that votes or decides and minutes are evidence of that decision, yes fine have them then!) And here's to the poor souls who type them up to circulate them to people who will never read them. This week I'm posting on sensemaking.

    And minutes don't make sense!

    Monday
    May202019

    Sensemaking is like listening on steroids

    The performance enhancing tool for workplaces today is sensemaking. It's the skill of connecting dots and understanding the deeper meaning of what’s being discussed.

    When we try to take information in, understand what’s going on or decide what to do, we can use sensemaking to help us listen, think and decide. Too often we suffer misunderstandings, time wasting repetition, conversations that go around in circles, people interrupting, and still others who repeat information … but LOUDER! We’re all trying to understand what’s going on, and work out what we need to do about it.

    It can be too hard (and dull) to make sense just sitting around a table or via remote hookup looking at each other. That’s because sensemaking may not come as naturally as we assume it does. 'I can listen, I can think, I can talk. Therefore I can make sense, can’t I?’

    We need to do something more. We need to write some stuff down, to map it out - and thankfully, 'any old map will do’, says sensemaking guru Karl Weick.

    More to come this week on sensemaking...if you'd like more info on sense making, let me know. 

    Tuesday
    May142019

    Beware the thieves of clarity

    Are you tuned in to what steals clarity in your team, unit or organisation?

    Is it meetings?

    Lengthy reports?

    Status updates?

    Decks and presentations with complicated models, too much text, too many chevrons, arrows and ‘pillars’ or icebergs? 😜

    The race is on for meaning and understanding. The sooner we understand, the sooner we can make decisions, get into action and get feedback and insights on that action.

    But how much might we hiding behind work, tasks and activities that actually steal clarity, create ambiguity and generate more confusion? Do we busy ourselves working on stuff that doesn’t really support clarity … but rather steals it?

    In this complex world, it’s better to be known for being able to cut through and get to clarity; not overly simplified, not dumbed down … just c-l-e-a-r. Today, be on the look out for the thieves of clarity. Don’t let them get away with it. Bring it back, hold onto it, keep it together because other people in the room, in the team, across the organisation need you to … stand up for clarity.

    What do you see that steals clarity and understanding in your world of work?

    Thursday
    Apr252019

    'Any old map will do' 

    I wrote earlier about sensemaking and how we need it to collaborate, make decisions and make progress. How do we ‘make sense’, particularly in a group? Currently, we sit around a table, look at each other and talk at each other. It’s so verbal. Blah blah and blah, and some more blah blah. We’re trying to explain things, influence, persuade, educate, inform, involve and engage.

    All of that with words? That’s a big ask of any words coming out of our mouth to achieve.

    As if we should all be famous orators, preachers and inspirers! But some of us aren’t. And it can be unsafe in some workplaces to even open your mouth to put forward your thoughts. For making sense, you don’t need fancy drawing skills. You need a map.

    Thanks to Sensemaking guru Dr Karl Weick’s advice, ‘any old map will do.’ You see, a map provides us with a point of reference, a starting point. To start to make sense, get some of the information - words, shapes, ideas - onto something map-ish; a note pad, tablet, white board, flip chart.

    It need not be pretty. It needs only to be practical. It’s a starting point after all.

    Thursday
    Apr252019

    Don’t put anything on the walls.


    Thinking information on a wall is ugly or damages the decor might be good for aesthetic folks, but there’s a lot of pragmatic people who need to see things to make sense of 'em.

    Seeing helps us make sense of what’s happening, why it's happening and what's yet to happen. And it reduces uncertainty and anxiety.

    If there’s nothing visible about the work going on, then is there any work actually going on? It’s like that philosophical statement: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” If our work is hidden in digital files, apps and emails of ‘reply all’, is progress actually happening? Too much information is hidden deep in dungeons, vaults and rabbit holes and it's too complex to work with.

    What’s happening at your workplace: Are you ‘allowed’ to put things on the wall?