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!