I actually met Al Pittampalli through this blog as he was chiming in with some really good comments to several of my posts. When later he sent me his new book published through Seth Godin’s Domino Project I was eager to read it (even though as you know, I prefer the audio books) on my wife’s Kindle. It’s a manifesto most business should read… and Al explains why meetings are basically toxic.
Modern Meeting Standard sets a set of new rules for meetings
What basically Al is saying is this - you can’t call a meeting until you’ve made a decision. Making a decision together is an excuse not to decide.
It’s all about decision and a way to move things forward
Here are some quotes from Al:
“Meetings need to be less like the endless commercial breaks during a football game, and more like pit stops…”
“Like all human beings, we’re terrified of making decisions. In the face of pressing, difficult decisions, we stall. Meetings are a socially acceptable and readily available way of doing so.”
“The agenda should clearly state the problem, the alternatives, and the decision.”
“In the Modern Meeting, the decision is King. All hail the King.”
“What’s the posture I should take as I run the meeting? Benevolent dictatorship. The outcome rests on your shoulders, so make the meeting work.”
“This is not high school; we strive to be a world-class organization. We can’t tolerate your unpreparedness anymore. Unprepared participants are dead weight.”
“If no action plan is necessary, neither is a meeting.”
Brainstorming is good. Asking for opinion is good, too… but in a limited way.
I only call a meeting if I know what we have to do and I want to get others’ feedback on how to move this forward. It always works. When we all work from home it’s even easier. We don’t Skype all too much, we just call a Skype meeting when we really need to. Otherwise we just work… and my Skype is shut down.
Anyway, I loved the book - it was short and to the point and left we with some cool ideas how to improve my meetings even more in the future.
What I also loved - the size of Al’s book / manifesto
Just like I loved Rework by 37signals, I loved this book, too. I spent 2 hours reading it and felt I got some really cool ideas out of it. I actually read it on my iPhone’s Kindle app during my last-week’s travels. Who said business books need to be 300 pages that you need an entire day to read? I definitely like the new format better. Hope for more manifestos like this in the future :-)