Our recent blog posts have addressed topics related to creating your plan that will insure that your wish list of New Year’s resolutions a realistic resolve (HERE) and how you might want to ‘be’ as an employee who will be seen as a valuable asset to your organization (HERE). Several of your comments carried this message: ‘So big deal! I’m working to accomplish my plan to benefit myself and my company. And what about that company that seems unconcerned with how much of my time they waste through endless and unnecessary meetings? A GREAT question and one that is worthy of addressing.
As a coincidence, last Sunday’s NY Times had an editorial on this very subject. You think they read our posts? Probably not, however, this is an issue that seems to be rearing its’ head and appropriately getting attention. The article … “Why are some teams smarter than others?” … says this: “ENDLESS meetings that do little but waste everyone’s time. Dysfunctional committees that take two steps back for every one forward. Project teams that engage in wishful group thinking rather than honest analysis. Everyone who is part of an organization — a company, a nonprofit, a condo board — has experienced these and other pathologies that can occur when human beings try to work together in groups.
But does teamwork have to be a lost cause? Nowadays, though we may still idolize the charismatic leader or creative genius, almost every decision of consequence is made by a group.” The authors identify three characteristics that distinguish the ‘smartest teams:
- All team members contribute somewhat equally to the discussions as opposed to allowing one or two to dominate.
- The team members are better able to read “complex emotional states” through being able to see the eyes of another in the group.
- More women on a team enable it to outperform teams with more men. And the reason that explains this is that on the average women are better at mind reading than men. This means more than just reading facial expressions. Rather it has to do with a more general ability known as “Theory of Mind” … to consider and track what others feel, know and believe.
Because so many teams are together for long periods of time whether they are inner departmental, senior management or assembled to handle a special project, the fact remains that we all have the potential of spending many hours in working with our teams. So while you have resolve to accomplish your personal goals for this year, minimizing wasted time is certainly a reality worth addressing. That can be as simple as adjusting the way you and others are as team members. Do it and I think you’ve just found hours of valuable time that will enable you to accomplish all that you envision for yourself and your organization. SPEAK UP! It’s needed.