When I say meetings are an access to change your entire culture, I’m not being hyperbolic.
In organizations we learn both formally and informally by observing our colleagues.
We notice that people eat lunch at their desks, hide when the boss appears, or gossip about their coworkers behind their backs. It’s these customs we observe, and we model (often unconsciously).
Meetings are the hotbed of observational learning. With so much time spent inside of meetings, often with colleagues that we might not see so often otherwise, so much is picked up.
Our company’s values can be plastered on every wall in the organization, but its impact on us pales in comparison to simply seeing how others around us behave inside of meetings. And so we come to meetings, and we take away values. We notice if people arrive late to meetings, how people make decisions, how they treat each other, and we learn. Meetings teach us lessons about “how things are done here.”
[Do you work in an organization where when a meeting is scheduled for 10:00 AM, it’s acceptable and even expected for people to arrive at 10:05 AM? This is what I’m referring to.]
When meetings run like smooth well oiled machines, we take that sense of efficiency back to our desk. When meetings are slow and indecisive, we take that lack of urgency back to our desk and we share it with our team, our clients, and the organization (again, most of the time without even realizing it).
I’m not sure if people realize the enormity of this fact, but that’s why I continue to write about it:
Meetings are a lever, one that gives us overwhelming power to transform our entire culture, and effectively the way we all do business.
The quality of your meetings is the quality of your organization. Change your meetings, change your organization.