I’ve always liked the Albert Einstein quote, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
I recently started following the witting observations of @MeetingBoy (“Say or do something stupid in a meeting and I’ll tweet it”). He’s putting out a 2010 MeetingBoy calendar in the next week or so and asked if I’d create a cartoon to illustrate one of his tweets. So, this cartoon is based on one that I liked the most: “Definition of insanity: holding the same meeting with the same people every week and expecting different results.”
Last year I heard Seth Godin speak in London. After his talk, someone in the audience asked Seth how he found enough hours in the day to be so prolific. Seth answered that he never had to go to meetings. This gave him an extra four hours a day than those in the audience who did.
A month later, Seth wrote a great post called, “Getting serious about your meeting problem.” He squarely addresses the dysfunctional meeting habits that most businesses have and offers a few suggestions to break the cycle of meeting insanity, including these nuggets:
“Understand that all problems are not the same. So why are your meetings? Does every issue deserve an hour? Why is there a default length?
Require preparation. Give people things to read or do before the meeting, and if they don’t, kick them out.
Remove all the chairs from the conference room. I’m serious.”
First thing this week, I’m going to question all of the recurring meetings on my calendar, see which ones I can overhaul and which ones I can remove entirely. Probably the best new year’s work resolution I can make.