I have witnessed many successful enterprises that ordain and practice a drive-by meeting culture. Meetings occur without priority or planning and take place on the fly. You are standing outside your office when a coworker walks by and says, “Oh, Mel. So glad I caught you…” and they proceed to throw a monkey on your back. Tag you’re it. Maybe they just want to gossip or share something important. Meetings are slung together last minute and agendas are sloppy and loose. This is a high grade, lowest common denominator (LCD) practice. It is very disruptive to being a championship team.
Aim, Prioritize, Focus, Execute: Best practice is to lead, manage and hold your enterprise accountable to prioritizing annually to aim and decide what we will do. Then each quarter we meet to true up our aim and measure how we are doing. Stay focused. We meet weekly all year to take 52 bites out of our elephant goals. These scheduled, recurring, same day and same time meetings happening top-down will eradicate the need for drive-by meetings and poorly planned urgent conversations. It may also be necessary to assess the culture and the people to ensure we built this right, and then we staffed it right.
You are standing outside your office when a coworker walks by and says, “Oh, Mel. So glad I caught you…” and they proceed to throw a monkey on your back. Tag you’re it.
What is the opportunity cost of a drive-by culture? People are resilient. They will adapt and survive our LCD leadership. The costs, though, are real and substantial. It lowers morale, confuses focus, lowers effectiveness, and rewards poor planning and form. It is also sloppy and mediocre. It increases the “slope of our treadmill” purely due to poor form.
In closing, when we raise our standards to highest common denominator (HCD) behavior and practices, we gain quantum leaps in effectiveness, efficiency, and we lower unnecessary stress and anxiety. We are better teachers and we impart powerful knowledge and form to our leaders and their leaders. We show a better way, and it excites people. We enable and empower doing our best work ever, together.
Power is gained by planning meetings in advance and prioritizing to do the important, already agreed upon priorities. Then we table distractions, even important ones. We stop allowing drive-by meetings. The HCD is to build your case for why your discussion / meeting is on task, within the agreed priorities. Then set the meeting in advance on the calendar. Meet on time – fast and focused. Spend the meeting Identifying, Discussing and Solving (IDS) the priority matter. Then break. Get back to focusing on the week’s to-dos.
Simple but powerful stuff. Imagine an entire company operating in this manner. I promise they will be hard to beat!