The Meeting Craze

The Meeting CrazeThere is a meeting craze. 

Every day, people meet and meet and meet.  There seems to be a confusion between work and meeting.  Meetings are not work.

Did you ever wonder how effective meetings can  really be when all people do is meet?  When is the work actually done?  

Most people who have meetings think that all their meetings are effective otherwise why would they have them.  Yet, in actual fact, if outside observers sat in most meetings, they would find that the majority of meetings are anything but effective.  Most meetings are a waste of time.

Why?

That’s why . . . . no one ever asks “why should we have this meeting?”  You’d think they would.  After all, doesn’t everyone think their time is valuable and don’t they want to maximize their productivity at work? 

Meetings have become a status symbol – the more meetings you attend, the more important you are.  That’s the general consensus.  So everyone wants to look and feel important so they book themselves into a lot of meetings.  Is that effective?

Depends.  What is the work culture?  If meetings are a status symbol, then people show up at meetings whether they have anything to contribute or not.  And everyone invites everyone else to their meetings because reciprocity assures status for all concerned.  Some people get very upset if a meeting is called to which they are not invited.  They couldn’t have said or done anything which would have moved the agenda forward but they don’t want to “miss out” on anything. 

I saw one manager once so upset at not being invited to a certain meeting that they literally had a melt down.  It was not pretty!

Who Can Change the Meeting Culture?

Anyone.  

It takes one person with the courage to ask questions and to create effective meetings themselves.   It takes someone to say no to meetings at which they have nothing to offer.  It takes someone brave enough to introduce new approaches to meetings. 

Meetings are very costly.  Next time you’re at a meeting, calculate how much in salary time was consumed at the meeting by all the people in attendance and what was generated.  Was it cost effective?  Likely not. 

It’s time people got back to real work and stop the “meetings craze”!

Lorraine Arams

Wize Time

Are There People Addicted to Meetings?

Are There People Addicted to Meetings?

can you pick out the meeting addict?

Meeting addicts – what’s the payoff?

They feel unglued if they are not in, going to, or coming from a meeting.  Their refrain consistently is, “I have so many meetings.  Every day, all day I’m in meetings and, at night, I attend more meetings.”  Their life is sitting in a meeting.  They even consider the gym a meeting!

Yes, they thrive on meetings.  The more meetings, the better.  They fill their calendars with as many meetings as they possibly can believing that they are maximizing their time, energy and contributions by attending meetings.   Deep down, though, they fully understand what the meetings are really about.

Where will you find these meetings addicts?

In any very large organization such as government and multi-national corporations as well as on boards of directors -  in any “meeting” culture.

What drives people to become meeting addicts?  Reward.

They found out early in their career that, if they filled their calendars with meetings, they were rewarded.  Instantly.

What could those rewards be?

Here are just a few:

1)  They can’t fail.  Failure to them is worse than anything on earth.  To avoid failing at anything, they sit in a group where little is expected of them individually and where they can’t fail if they just follow along and play “nice”.   Everyone in the system, top down, operates the same way.  Government is especially prone to this approach – no one is to blame for anything.

2)  Some love to manipulate and where else can they find a richer field of prospects than in meetings.  Manipulators read people very well and know exactly how to get what they want and need from others.  Because they sit in meetings day in and day out, they manipulate others to do their work for them and, when something goes wrong, well the person who actually did the work gets the reprimand.  Life is pretty easy – all they have to do is attend meetings.

3)  Ego feed.  Their resumes get filled with all the boards on which they have sat – either elected or appointed.  They love the appointed board positions because appointments are politically driven and board members simply need to say yes to everything that’s proposed.  They never have to challenge anything.  What a piece of heaven!

4)  Meeting addicts always “smell good” no matter where they are because they never ever stick their necks out and do any work.   They talk an impressive line but never actually do the work to achieve any particular goal unless they can get someone else to do the work such as their assistants.

5)  No one can ever repeat what they have said because, though they talk a lot, they say very little if anything.  If anyone listens very carefully and tries to pin down exactly their position on any topic, people soon find it’s impossible.  Meeting addicts are masters at saying a lot without saying a thing.

6)  They are networking mavens.  Networking is what?  You got it – another meeting!  They love to attend because, again, they can talk a lot, accomplish little and are “seen”.  They seem to know a lot of people – anyone would who attends meetings constantly and does little to no work!

Why are they so successful while working so little if anything at all?  Because no one can ever “pin them with a failure” – they haven’t done anything!  And certainly they can be “nice” all the time – why?  Because they take a stand on nothing.  They “go with the flow”, never, ever sticking their necks out!  They leave the chopping block for everyone else to enjoy!

Lorraine Arams

 

 

 

 

How Technology Has Slowed Us Down

How Technology Has Slowed Us Down

May Be All You Need!

Do you think technology has slowed us down?

It has.

Like the Vacuum Cleaner

Much like the vacuum cleaner which inspired carpeting most of the floors in the house, we are all now reverting back to hardwood floors.  Why?  Because vacuuming and cleaning carpets, in the long run, took more time than mopping dust balls under the bed!  When something spilled on a hardwood floor, it was easy to get the mop out and clean the spill.  With carpets, the effort is much greater and sometimes a stain persists. 

Hence, hardwood floors have become the “rage” once again!

Technology has done the same.  How?  By using up more and more of our resources – our time, our money, our energy, our thinking power, and our social time.  We not willing to give up so much any more!

Upgrades and the New

While programmers sit in at their computers day after day thinking of ingenious ways to upgrade each and every program or create new ones, the user’s time, energy and money are consumed at an incredible rate keeping up with the latest innovations.

It takes time to learn how to use the latest upgrades.  For instance, Facebook is upgrading all the time.  Facebook wasn’t exactly user friendly to begin with and, more and more, Facebook is becoming an ever increasing consumer of time.  Just the introduction of timelines recently sent people scrambling to figure out what that meant and how it affected them.  Heaven forbid that Facebook should send out an email to everyone letting them know of the changes and who it would affect!  That would be way too easy – so we scratch our heads or ignore it.

Microsoft brought out a new version of Office.  Again, the menus were changed and the methods for performing certain tasks  were changed.  No “manual” outlining the changes and how to use the new features were ever distributed.  People have spent many hours “re-learning” Office to do some of the simplest tasks.  The good news is that at least Microsoft has a fairly good Help feature.  The bad news:  time is chewed up re-learning.

LinkedIn, my favorite of the social media, made changes too.  Yet, no announcements.  No instructions.  Someone in frustration sent out a help call to figure out how to on LinkedIn since it’s so difficult to find help from LinkedIn.

So we are left to either search the site to see if we can figure out how to use the changes or run to YouTube to see if anyone has made a “how to” video.  Thank you technologically savvy people for helping!

Even little old Twitter keeps changing the game. 

If all the upgrades were obvious and helpful, we would all welcome them.  And, if these multi-billion dollar companies had any inkling of customer service, wouldn’t they let their customers know?  You’d think!

Google decided to add Google + and Pinterest came on the scene. Google+ is not quite the “charm” Google thought it would be.  Perhaps it would have been best for Google to improve the ability to deliver relevant information in a better way than it does.  How many of us have plowed through pages and pages of Google results to find the right article or the information we were looking for.  Sometimes the simplest information requests are not satisfied.

More and More We Engage Less and Less 

We can’t be everywhere and each one of these sites has a tremendous learning curve not to mention the upkeep of our profiles, of the changes and the next newest and best thing.

For all the good technology has given us, technology has taken away our most precious commodity – time. 

When I’m talking to people of all ages today, I find the same thing – they love their cell phone to stay in touch and listen to their favorite shows on the bus but they are shutting out social media more and more.  It’s all become too much.  Much like children who receive a lot of toys at Christmas, only a couple remain their favorites and the other toys are put away in boxes or given away.  They love their laptops for getting their work done and beyond that, sitting on the beach on a beautiful evening is far more enjoyable than tinkering with the latest and not so great the technology industry has devised.

Experiencing Real Life is Better

People are not running as fast to the next latest and greatest piece of technology but instead are shutting down.  They want to experience a fuller life – go outdoors to walk and cycle, meet up with friends face-to-face, attend live classes and workshops, participate in their community and engage with another human instead of a machine – enough already!

Lorraine Arams

 

 

 

 

Dr. John Nash and Time – Did You Ever Wonder?

Dr. John Nash and Time   Did You Ever Wonder?Did you ever wonder how it would be to be brilliant and lose years because other people controlled your life sometimes during your lifespan?

Last night, I watched A Beautiful Mind.  I had never seen the whole movie before.  Today I went on Wikipedia to find out more about the real man because we all know that Hollywood “enhances” real lives to appeal to our emotions.  They do a good job and I also like the real story.

Such brilliance stopped in its tracks because perhaps the most brilliant of minds are “unusual” and our common brains can’t grasp their world.  We fear unusual behaviors and, when we don’t understand something, we react in somewhat arcane and arrogant ways.  When he was getting his shock treatments, I wondered why.  Weren’t they afraid they might damage such a great brain?  Obviously not.  I would.  Perhaps some people can live with “imagined characters” in their lives if only they come to understand the difference. Children do it all the time and we don’t think they’re crazy!

Dr. Nash lost many years while “incarcerated” to institutions.  Imagine the fear he must have felt each time he came out.  So much valuable time was eroded from his life.

Think about your life – how much rushing around you do.  What if you lost a full year or 2 or 5 or 8 or more years because of an illness.  Do you think you would slow down a bit?  What difference would it make in the scheme of things to entirely change your world for a while?

I wonder myself – if we just stopped the world and got off for a few years, what would happen?

Someone told me recently that she is taking off to Europe for an indeterminate amount of time.  She has worked for a few years, was laid off and decided it was time to travel.  She’s young enough to enjoy it and physically fit to adapt to the changing landscapes.  She’s getting off for a while – away from the rush we build into our worlds. Smart woman – when we experience the people and lives of other parts of our planet, we come to see the world differently and our part it.

If you haven’t seen the movie for some time or have never seen it, I hope you pick it up a copy to view on a rainy Friday night and watch it.  Imagine you’re John Nash and imagine living through his journey.  Let me know what happens.

Lorraine Arams

 

 

 

 

Timing is Everything – No Matter What

Timing is Everything   No Matter WhatDo you believe that timing is everything?

I do.

Last night, I watched the final game for the Stanley Cup.  Both LA Kings and the New Jersey Jets were great clubs.  The amount of hard work, good coaching, and luck to get to the finals is enormous.  Yet there has to be a loser and a winner – one team must win – there is only one Stanley Cup.

What was the difference?  Luck.  Lucky that all the factors came together when necessary for the win.  The Jets, in the first period, got a 5-minute penalty and LA Kings capitalized on it with 3 goals.  What if the hitting hadn’t been so hard?  What if the penalty had been only two minutes?  What if there had been no penalty as in the case of so many other checks.  What if? 

The Smartest Man in the World

‘What if’ can also present itself in other ways in our society.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, The Story of Success illustrates how luck plays such an integral part in achieving success or not in any field. 

One of the most poignant stories in the book is about the smartest man in the world. Few know his name.  Chris Langan.  Gifted, born in poverty without the home learning necessary to navigate the real world and faced insurmountable obstacles, he never reached his dream.  Despite hard work and great efforts, his talent, ingenuity and genius in philosophy, mathematics and physics, there was no luck in the world for Chris Langan.  Poor home life, rigid bureaucracies and no champion were the factors that derailed what could have otherwise been a brilliant career.  Compare his story with Bill Gates – born to the right parents, at the right time, with access to the right equipment, meeting up with Paul Allen, and growing up during the leading edge of the technological revolution. The factors conspired to make him a billionaire.

Have you ever wondered . . . .

If you’ve ever wondered why your hard work and dedication have never paid off, read Outliers – you’ll be amazed how coincidences accumulate to destroy  the future of some of the brightest and the best.  So it has been through eternity and thus it shall always be.

Do you give up?

It depends on what you are giving up on.  On yourself?  Never, ever give up on yourself.  You are the most important person alive! 

So what do you do if you don’t achieve your dream?

Live.  Live a life every day that you are proud to live.  It might not be ideal or perfect. 

It can be satisfying.

I strived, worked like mad for many years, and educated myself repeatedly.  How I worked!  I had the goal in mind.  But, like Chris Langan, I didn’t have the formula.  I had many, many successes – but not the one I wanted.  Then I read Outliers.

It’s a formula – it’s luck and it’s many, many other factors which need to come together for a dream to materialize.

But life is a many faceted diamond.  We are here to learn.  I learned many thingson my journey.  Here are some of them:

a)  to be grateful every day for what I have – I have good health, food on the table and a shower with hot and cold running water without my having to haul the water from the well or gather wood to heat the water.  I live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world .

b)  I cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought – not one – because negative thoughts are so quickly nurtured by the negativity in our world.  Staying positive every minute of every day is one of the greatest daily challenges.

c)  relationships take time to build especially the one with myself.  Loving oneself and being selfish about crafting the life I  want is critical to a happier and fulfilling life. 

d)  life must be crafted – planned – and developed otherwise others will pay attention to my life for me.  People will take whatever they can get or commandeer my life according to their ideas and values.  I know solid boundaries are incredibly important based on my values – mine – not other people’s.  I now know the most important value of all – loving myself and the life I’m living – caring for it – nurturing it as did the people who cared for me as a baby.  It’s tough maintaining those boundaries sometimes so the values I live must be real to me – life is an inside job!

e)  live it up!  I love vacations now – travel – and I love my curiosity – it’s an exciting world filled with fascinating people, things, places and discoveries.  I’m getting involved in my community, my world – it’s so fantastic!  And now I see the mistakes of the past were great lessons – we live in a world of contrast – good and bad – without the contrast, it would be a boring existence! Both my successes and mistakes are a part of who I am today and I am proud of that person I know so intimately!

Will you join me?

Will you join me and define the right life for you?  I hope so – and even if timing is not on your side, life can still be a great adventure of discovery and fun!  You’ll all of a sudden become quite aware of time -

Lorraine Arams

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