Here is how: go to as many meetings as possible.

Leo Tolstoy wrote in Anna Karenina: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”  Working with a variety of organizations is a bonus of the consulting profession and I have long ago discovered that there are some common kinds of organizational “unhappiness”, its sheer variety notwithstanding.

Take the issue of the lack of time. Paradoxically (or, perhaps, not at all so), environments where complaints of “no time” are most common, waste time left, right and centre. If you hear this complaint in your organization, take a careful look around.

Meetings seem to be a common waste of time , despite everything that has been said and written about effective meetings in the last 50 years. I see people getting together to disseminate information, to “keep each other in the loop”, to gab. Stop it! Enough!

Get together if a decision needs to be reached. Get to it quickly, capture action items and adjourn on time. Discussion going on a tangent? Interrupt, suggest to take it offline. Invited to a meeting you have no business to be in? Politely decline.

Life is too short for this.

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