Meetings And The Human Hamster Wheel

When the ideas and thinking of people are not valued, people will no longer find the value in sharing their ideas and thinking.

People don’t necessarily hate meetings. Most often they just hate what they’ve become, an endeavor in futility. What I mean is that they never go anywhere. People understand that, they get it. And when they begin to see them as a waste of time, they stop tuning in. They stop commenting. They stop sharing their ideas, their thinking, and even their resources. They stop adding their voice. Why?

Because they understand that their ideas and thinking will go nowhere…

Many leaders get frustrated and angry because they see people in their meetings doing other work, sending emails, text messages, grading papers, even reading the paper. What most leaders fail to realize is that they are not always the problem, your meetings are.

Think about how energized you are when you come out of a great meeting. Why? Because the meeting had…

  • Clarity – the meeting had a goal and your input was necessary, needed, valued and considered.
  • Conflict – the meeting engaged people in positive debate that mattered. Positive conflict that led to a strong and committed decision.
  • Action – the meeting not only led to a decision, people left with an action to complete.

Leaders cannot be frustrated with people in their meetings, when those meetings hold little or no value for them. If you want people to be energized and engaged in your meetings, then create an environment that makes that happen.

Most meetings have become the human hamster wheels of our modern times. We spend inordinate amounts of time talking and never taking action. We spend our precious time spinning our wheels on issues that never get resolved. And after awhile, people just get tired and begin to step off the wheel.

If you want your meetings to be more meaningful, create the circumstances that make them matter.


2 thoughts on “Meetings And The Human Hamster Wheel

  1. Clarity, conflict and action are great components. I think you need one more, ownership. I don’t really like meetings where I don’t have a vested interest in the meeting itself or if I’m there to just receive information. I enjoy chewing information and making meaning of that information in a meaningful way for the work that I need to do with that info.

    Great piece as always, David. Keep up the great work.


    • Very true, John. When there is not ownership…very often the action does not occur. Leads to more parking lot conversations and feelings of, “that was not my decision, it was their decision” feelings.

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