Tuesday, December 17, 2013

#NoManagers / #NoMeetings

Rands makes the comment that even in organizations without "managers" in job title, there are still people who do the job function of a manager. I'd say the same thing is true about meetings as well: even if you claim you don't have meetings, there are still things that act as meetings.

The best example was an interview with a small start-up from a year or so ago (and, unfortunately, I can't remember the name or have the link to it). They said, as a point of pride, "we don't have meetings." But, in almost the same breath, they said something to the effect of "we all go to lunch together." So: in other words, they have an hour to an hour and a half of meetings every day. The meeting just happens to be catered.

McGrath is right here: meetings are not about getting work done. Meetings are about building a group identity and learning to work together. Work happens in the space around meetings, in the walks to and from the meetings, and in the opportunistic interactions that meetings help make possible. It would be interesting to formally think about meetings as social enablers: in other words, ignore all those rules about how to run a meeting, and make it purely an "unmeeting." We've got no agenda, we've got no agenda, and we've got no action plan, but we do have cheese and crackers.