May 19, 2008

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Consequences of Not Knowing the Rules of the Game I sat across the table with disbelief and building anger as Pepper waltzed into the business dinner an hour late. I was responsible for arranging this private meeting with Tony - a man with experience and success in a particularly profitable business venture that we wanted to learn about. Tony was in town for a convention and generously offered the evening to us. One of the most experienced people in our organization (Ben) was also able to attend and willing to contribute his expertise from 30+ successful years in other dimensions of our business. This newbie, Pepper, held us all up. Adding fuel to the frustration was my email from 2 days before the dinner confirming that we all had to be there to be seated and we had only a 10 minute window. Luckily influential Ben worked his magic and we got a table without being a whole party. The final bit of gasoline on the fire of my aggravation was that Pepper invited her best friend to join us – the friend knows nothing of our business and seemed to think this was a cocktail party. Actually, no, that wasn't the final bit. The final bit was the minute when Tony went to the hostess desk to receive delivery of his lost luggage – it had been lost for 13 hours so far. When he stepped away Pepper leans across the table and says, "Give me a brief on this guy. Is he a doctor? What's the topic?" OK now, that was the part that crazed me because a briefing was sent on Tony – as well as a link to his website where particular relevant background information was offered. You regular readers know that I'm not the type to blow up – and I didn't. Ok, I am blowing up but it's here on paper and the names have been changed to protect those involved. And, Pepper said, and I quote, "I don't read email," so I won't imagine she'll ever cue in online. Our guests made comments, and I made judgments about this Pepper which are possibly wrong – but vivid: She's a prima donna She's an air head She's self-centered She's oblivious She's a genius – just not at business meeting courtesy She's unbelievable (that came up when she practically bragged that she doesn't read email. humph. That's how this dinner was announced so I...
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Wait Time Doesn’t Have to Mean Waste Time Adding your wait time throughout a day could sum up to an hour or more. Reinvesting that time would allow you to stay in touch (network), finish a report, read a book, or get your car washed. It could help your career advance and your happiness quotient! The first step to converting wait time is to recognize where it is wasted time today. Here are a few frequently spotted examples: A room is booked for a meeting before yours and those in the prior meeting go over time leaving you and your peers standing outside the door – perhaps pacing outside the door. Information meant to get to you is delayed The computers are down Someone is late to a meeting and the person who initiated the meeting doesn't start until everyone arrives even if it's 10 minutes or more late A co-worker is so overloaded that his part of your part of a project takes a back seat for days and you can't proceed without that part You wait by the microwave while components for dinner defrost The next step to converting wait time to productive time is to work to eliminate waste. Let's highlight the waste in some of situations above as a way to identify waste that could be eliminated. The room could be made available for only the first 45 minutes of each hour it's bookable. The meeting facilitator of your meeting could show up early and respectfully urge the prior group to leave. Every meeting could have a time keeper to keep an eye on the time. Information delayed getting to you might be able to be provided by someone else. If the computers are down, get over it – find the things you can do now while the repairs are being done and data is restored. If the computers coming back on is your responsibility, have a strong recovery plan in place and tested before you need it. You could arrive late if the meeting organizer is chronically and predictably a late starter. Plan dinner the night before or early in the morning and put the components in the fridge to defrost during the day. No wait / waste time! Finally, if can't get rid of it, you could fill currently wasted time with effective and productive activities. You could consciously build consensus for your position while standing outside a meeting room door rather...

Susan Sabo

I am a tool-loving productivity specialist who gets things done so I can travel the world, bicycle our country, spoil my friends & colleagues, and show you how to do the same.

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