Maybe it seems too mind-blowing to even consider slowing down enough to institute a daily and weekly meeting structure, but gazelles that have done it are thrilled with the result… This rhythmic pulsing of daily and weekly meetings constitutes the real heartbeat of a growing company.
Verne Harnish: Mastering The Rockefeller Habits.
Meetings have gotten a bad rap. People complain about them, don’t want them, despise them.
But, the problem is not “meetings” – it is “bad meetings.” And what are bad meetings?
A meeting with no purpose is a bad meeting.
A meeting for the sake of having a meeting is a bad meeting.
A meeting that drags on too long is a bad meeting.
But, not having meetings at all can be much, much worse. Because, after all is said and done, business is done by
The operative word is together. And without together time, together work does not get done.
I thought of all of this as I read about Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, in this article from the New York Times: Mark Zuckerberg’s Most Valuable Friend by Miguel Helft. Ms. Sandberg has two meetings a week with Mark Zuckerberg. One is on Monday morning, for one hour. The other is on Friday afternoon. Ms. Sandberg plays quite a role in the company, and is something akin to a personal coach for Mark Zuckerberg.
Here are some excerpts of the article:
EVERY Monday a bit before 10 a.m., Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, dashes off a quick e-mail to her boss, Mark Zuckerberg. “We have a routine,” Ms. Sandberg says. “I e-mail, ‘Coming in?’ He replies, ‘On my way.’ ”
A few minutes later, Mr. Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder and chief executive, walks into the company’s headquarters here, says a few hellos and heads to a conference room where he and Ms. Sandberg huddle for an hour. The two executives end the week the same way, with a closed-door meeting on Friday afternoon. They discuss products, strategy, deals, personnel — and each other.
“We agreed that we would give each other feedback every Friday,” Ms. Sandberg says. “We are constantly flagging things. Nothing ever builds up.” At a recent meeting, for instance, they ironed out a disagreement between them over the details of Mr. Zuckerberg’s pledge to give $100 million to schools in Newark.
If all of that sounds a bit touchy-feely, well, it is. Ms. Sandberg, a well-regarded Internet executive, is known for her interpersonal skills as much as for her sharp intellect. And her regular meetings with the famously introverted Mr. Zuckerberg have helped to keep one of Silicon Valley’s most unusual business partnerships working wonders for Facebook.
And here’s a paragraph to warm Cheryl Jensen’s heart. (Cheryl is our blogging colleague, and she and I have had a few words about coaching. We’re working on an article together. This quote supports Cheryl’s view). Ms. Sandberg clearly focuses on the “bright spots” in her coaching of Mr. Zuckerberg:
At a technology conference this summer, for instance, Mr. Zuckerberg flopped during an onstage interview. He gave rambling answers to questions about Facebook’s privacy policies, became visibly nervous and started sweating profusely. After the interview, Ms. Sandberg encouraged him not to beat himself up over it, but to focus on parts of the interview that went well so he could do better next time…
Back to the lesson. Have meetings. Make them good. Make them count. Make sure the right persons are in the meeting.
And don’t skip them! Did you catch this phrase from the article: Nothing ever builds up. Quite a good piece of advice for us all!
Meetings. You need them. Your company needs them. Be sure to have them — and make them count.