If you don’t speak twice during a meeting, you probably don’t need to be in the meeting.
I have experienced so many instances when this advice is given and, it seems, almost always to the wrong people — and by the wrong people, “executives” looking simply to own issues through their beleaguered proxies. The wrong people, that is to say: the Uninitiated: They are at the meeting precisely to learn, to get up to speed with their co-workers, and if they speak it should only be to ask for clarification, not to offer empty words. Or the Reflective (and let’s hope you have some): They are there to take it all in; they will reflect later on what they’re heard and understood and only then will be in position to offer helpful, informed opinion; they should not be made, usually quite against their own better instinct, to jump the gun.
Universal practice of this principle can only lower, more or less dramatically depending upon how many such un-initiated and reflective people are forced to speak up unnecessarily, the productivity of the meeting. Oh, and why twice?
“Fast, easy, guaranteed …pick none. That’s not the work that’s worth doing.” Seth Godin
Apologies to Seth, who’s surely given us more than any one guy’s allotted share of wisdom and encouragement, but this sound bite is boneheaded. Anyone who’s actually had strategic responsibility within a company knows instinctively, and quite correctly, that there is a number of things (yes, that “is” is correct, since the subject of this phrase is number, not things) that can and should be accomplished quickly, easily, and with at least a few guaranteed results. The universal term for this is “quick hits.” I get what Seth is trying to teach here, that the most important goals and results we’re looking for are overwhelmingly neither quick, nor easy, nor guaranteed, nor ever likely to be all three simultaneously. True enough, but the best and most obvious start to working towards those definitionally long term goals is — indulge me in another cliché — by picking the low-hanging fruit. Because there almost always is some low-hanging fruit to be picked, small, quick, and easy victories to be had. It would be both silly and irresponsible to ignore what could be done now, at little or no cost, and with pretty damn certain — if not 100% guaranteed — beneficial results. This is all the more important when — and when is this not the case? — team members need to see that, despite many and various conspicuous difficulties and disappointments ahead, we can make unmistakable positive impacts right now.
Life is a precious gift. Don’t waste it being unhappy, dissatisfied, hateful… @PopMathobela
Oh, come on. People who are genuinely happy all the time are either saints or idiots, and believe me you don’t want either on your team. It’s best to avoid them, because they will inevitably make you unhappy, dissatisfied, and hateful. Even worse are the Pretenders, doing their best to pretend to be happy all the time. Ladies and gentlemen, this is life: It includes unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and, yes, unfortunately, even hatred. You needn’t be as pessimistic about life as Freud — who saw the mission of psychoanalysis as enabling people to return to normal misery — but let’s at least be realistic about it.