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Meetings For Life
This article deals with the missed opportunity that exists when we overlook that we can bring the same set of skills that we have at managing projects and meetings to our own personal life.
Boy Meets Girl & Project Engineer Meets Project
"If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be 'meetings'."
When I came across the quote above, I thought it had a funny and true ring to it, but I also felt that it was inaccurate. My philosophy and belief is that the world needs more Project- Self Managers. If Project Managers of the world are to make a difference in solving world class problems and produce results meetings are a good start.
Love at First Meet?
First time meetings can be exciting. But if we're honest they can get stale really fast. I used to hate meetings and definitely agree with the quote noted above. But now, I will admit that my relationship to meetings has transformed.
About a year ago, I completed an assignment as a Project Engineer on bridge fabrication project. The overall project was a $1.2 Billion dollar infrastructure investment of which the company I worked for had a contract valued at approximately $100M. When I came on board, I assumed everyone knew what was going on but in time discovered that we were all misaligned about what it would take to get the bridge fabricated and delivered on time. Things were somewhat slow and stagnant for a time or so it seemed until the contractor insisted on a weekly MEETING to examine our progress.
I initially dreaded these meetings. I was afraid to be put on the spot for not knowing what the hell I was doing and the discomfort of not being able to cover the backs of my colleagues when they may have been on the hot seat. In time I discovered, that this weekly meeting was what saved us all from complete failure. It served as an honor structure. There was limited room to hide and fake the funk. It served as a weekly reflection pool for us to own what we'd said we'd do and failed to do as well as own what we did get done. In time, weekly structures and rhythms for examining and forwarding results was created and a great deal more was accomplished and parts of the bridge were completed early and ahead of schedule.
A Video's worth 1000 Meeting Minutes
Take a look at one of the results these meetings created by clicking on the following link:
Am I Worth Meeting?
When I left this position, I asked myself a couple questions. One of them was where do I go after project engineering a project of this size and scope. The other question which was more revealing which I asked myself was "Why don't you run your life like a $100M dollar project? Why aren't you having weekly meetings to review and monitor your growth and progress with the same level of intention?" And all of a sudden there was a shift. I recognized that my life could be respectably honored in the same way. I could look at my life and ask what are the respective blueprints for the areas of life that mattered to me most? Who were my subcontractors in those areas? Did I have an estimate for the work that needed to be done? etc. I began to truly take inventory of the fact that if my life was a real project at hand that it would need to be related to as such. So today, I have Monday meetings to review my projects as a consultant and my life is not off limits to review. And my criteria is that I be purposeful, meaningful and inspiring in my engagement instead of hoping the meeting is a good one or that it finishes fast.
Learn more about the author, Buihe Madu.
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