by David Lykken
Meetings often get a bad rap in the business world. Think of all the newspaper comic strips and TV comedy sketches making fun of company meetings. In our culture, meetings are seen by many employees as boring, unproductive wastes of time. Even many leaders in business have jumped on this bandwagon, assuming that meetings are a drain on productivity. If we're meeting, after all, we aren't working. So, are meetings really all that bad? Are they really a waste of time?
Here's a thought: maybe it's not that meetings in and of themselves are as awful as we tend to think they are; maybe it's just that most of us have experienced really bad meetings. I would suggest that it is possible to conduct better meetings so that they aren't a waste of time, they are fun and interesting, and they do contribute to productivity. The answer to bad meetings, in my opinion, is not to get rid of meetings; rather, it's to make meetings better.
As leaders in the mortgage industry, meeting with our people is essential. If it elicits yawns and eye-rolls to call them “meetings,” you can call them “get-togethers,” “pow-wows,” “brain-storming sessions,” or whatever works. The bottom line is, though, that we need that interaction with our people if we want to keep the organizational culture vibrant and cohesive. Departments need to meet together so that each understands where the other is coming from and there isn't any breakdown in communication.
By all means, make your meetings better—but don't get rid of them! Nothing can replace the interpersonal, face-to-face communication that comes from meeting together with your people in the same room to tackle your organization's toughest issues.