The Matrix of Corporate Meetings
Posted by Anurag Bahal, Senior Consultant, Infosys
Purpose – Accomplish more from corporate meetingsThe Matrix is my favorite movie. It has an advanced technology depiction with an underlying philosophical message. Technology and Philosophy, what a cinematic combination! Morpheus, Neo's spiritual leader and guide tells us in The Matrix "Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony”. I have seen that organization meetings have a fate and the irony is in the participant behavior.
Being a consultant I organize meetings and I am invited to a quite a few Business and Technology meetings. There are many instances where I feel that meetings can be organized better and then they could have achieved better results. One theme that I have found particularly challenging is the chameleon factor.
Meeting Dynamics – The Chameleon Factor
People change colors when they start viewing a situation territorial. To give an example, say a consultant wants to complete a project by a certain time to meet the client acceptance criteria but the political situation in the client site prevents him from doing so. There are people who are ready to cooperate with the consultant in person but when they come together they are interested in increasing their own areas of influence and cite problems with the work done in other area. In this situation it becomes a matter of taking a few steps forward and then a few backwards. Progress is slower. I have been part of the meetings where people start making a generic comment and they admit that they are making a general comment. Little that they realize that comment can impede a full buy-in. The outcome of that comment is that prevents a complete sign off of the deliverable and worse it is not actionable. Moreover a few days later the stakeholder is ready to change the comment to make it specific but it is contradictory to the earlier stance that was taken in public. All this is a part of corporate reality but my point is that a general comment is of no value and it is a time waster.
Meeting Dynamics – The Solution
How about using the advice of Sidney Poitier (Actor and Author of The Measure of a Man) in order to accomplish more from every corporate meeting. Here is the advice "Living consciously involves being genuine; it involves listening and responding to others honestly and openly; it involves being in the moment."
If people are consistent and genuine in their expression in the corporate meetings, it creates better outcomes. Successful managers know that and they practice it. They highlight inconsistencies and provide suggestions to fix those. Successful meetings are very important to the real success of a project. As Morpheus puts it in The Matrix "What is "real"? How do you define "real"?" Real to me in the organization meetings is Action that produces outcomes as warranted by organization strategic goals and drivers. If your company has invested in a consultancy effort, they want the effort to conclude in schedule, scope and budget.So what are you doing to help consultants in your company complete their work in time?