Ease Creates, Urgency Destroys

Too many initiatives in parallel, unrealistic production targets, and milestones. Daily status updates, tracking, rushing, hurry….why does it take so long? What have you been doing? While waiting why not starting with this other task?

We tend to cultivate urgency and believe by doing so we get the best productivity out of teams. Not quite so. Urgency prevents people from thinking clearly and from making good decisions.
If we want people to do their best thinking and come up with innovative ideas and solutions, we have to discard urgency and free ourselves from the internal and external rush and busyness that is prevalent in the corporate world. One way to do this is to create Ease, one of the 10 components of a Thinking Environment. Here are a few ideas you can try to cultivate Ease in meetings.

  • Remove agenda items – You probably cramp too many agenda items in an hour anyway, don’t you? If you need people‘s brilliant thinking, you should create the space for them to do so
  • Use Questions – Turn each agenda topic into an open question. The human mind works best in the presence of a question
  • Introduce Check-ins – Make space for a check-in at the beginning of each meeting. Focus on something positive.
  • Introduce Rounds – A round assures everyone has their turn to speak. And while waiting they can relax and give full attention because there is no need to jump in, to show off, and to elbow themselves through a conversation.
  • Don’t interrupt – Not interrupting gives others the opportunity to think for themselves. And by knowing they won’t get interrupted, they can think more clearly and have time to finish their thought.
  • Close the loop – Reserve time at the end of the meeting to summarize the decisions and actions and let people reflect on the meeting and suggest an improvement for the next time.
  • Make time for transitions – Reduce your one hour meeting to 50 minutes. What you can’t decide in 50 minutes you won’t decide in an hour anyway. Start 5 past, and end 5 to, to give people a chance to breathe between meetings.

Everyone wants the best possible results from meetings. But the quality of decisions and actions groups take depends on the thinking they do together first. And in order to think clearly, the mind needs to be at ease.