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No Agenda, No Meeting

It’s Thanksgiving week in America. The virus is surging. We are trapped, anxious, and down about having to cancel or modify plans. Please don’t start anything new this week. People need to rest, recharge, and be ready for one more sprint across early December. Anything requiring true energy and momentum is better started the following Monday.

Andrew Grove, former Intel CEO, discusses how meetings are an important "medium of work" in his book High Output Management. He shares that "we should not be fighting their very existence, but rather using the time spent as efficiently as possible" and that any meeting without an AGENDA will burn our time. I find that to be especially true in a short holiday week. People are wrapping stuff up and trying to sign off. Therefore, many meetings this week will accomplish nothing. 1:1s are way too casual. Recurring meetings have low energy. Status updates are missing key people. Your colleagues and clients will want to delay decisions until December. Anything you agree on won't be actioned until the next week. So, do you even need to meet? Not without a clear agenda. In the book, I discuss how we need to treat meetings more like dining out. Before we allocate our hours to trying a restaurant, we look at the menu, read the reviews, ask a friend if they liked it. Why don't we do the same with meetings? We need to review the agenda (menu) and make sure it's worth our time. Try this exercise from the book. Open your calendar for this coming week. Go through each meeting TODAY and assess the following: Spend 10 minutes today and win back a few hours: 1. Does the meeting have a clear agenda that all attendees agree to? If not, reply to ALL attendees and make sure you all agree on the true need to meet and how you’ll spend the time. Once you agree on an agenda, shorten the length or let people skip based on what you need to accomplish. 2. Finish this sentence: This meeting will truly help me move closer to my goals by... 3. If someone gave me another hour as a free gift this week, would I use it on this meeting? Yes or No. If you can't quickly formulate a business case for your own time, then you should put that meeting on your #NDL. Comment and let me know which meetings you are NOT DOING this week. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself for the hours back to tackle the harder things that need your time.

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