Friday, March 17, 2006

Monkey Grooming

So, I was in a meeting yesterday. Nothing too unusual in that you might say. Well, it was part of the executive team. Combined base salary of the small group around the table would be in the region of UK£1,000,000 (before bonus, perks, etc etc etc). That means for a roughly one hour meeting of this august company the business expends around UK£1,000. That doesn't, of course, include the cost of providing the meeting room, fresh coffee and bottled water, paper, the PA taking notes, and numerous other sundries too boring to mention.

If I'm brutally honest, what was the net value of the outcome of the meeting? I'll be generous and say it contributed nothing. Certainly nothing negative resulted, but no decisions of import where made. There was some exchange of information, and some of the less keyed up on the topic of the moment learned a few things, but generally it did little for the physical moving forward of the company.

We talked, frankly we verbally groomed each other. I don't discount the importance of such meetings, they do serve a real purpose. The reason in this electronic age we still have face to face meetings is that being with each other is important. We are a social animal, we need to sit with our tribe, grunt at each other as we pick at the lice in our fur, touch and stroke each other for re-assurance, and generally be ready to run or defend each other if someone spots a lion.

It is important, we need to be with each other, to build those relationships. The grooming is no longer physical (nor is the dust em up fights), its verbal, but it is no less important. Research has shown time and time again that effective organisations have staff that see and interact with each other.

Problem is, so do ineffective organisations. Where did this meeting stand? ... it was bloody boring.


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