Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Another Meeting About A Meeting

I was talking to some guys at a party. Each of them worked for big global organisations. I asked about the trend for doing your own thing; flexible working, working at home, life in the scrambled up world of work. They replied that success in their business was about visibility. Their weeks are full of internal meetings and if you aren't present, then you are out of the loop. That is how business is done.

Do they make all the decisions at these meetings? No. The business hierarchy and organisation is so deep that decision making is not rapid and effective. No-one's immediate boss can make decisions, the culture is risk-averse and executives spend their days crafting proposals and cases for change, for new products, or lobbying for decisions. PowerPoint documents are the currency of communication which are presented and then passed up the chain of management, to head office in the States, several positions removed from the executive who initiated it.

What makes the best case for change? What will get a decision made?
The most robust argument? The most attractive financial forecast?
Nope, the size of the PowerPoint.

If you want to make sure you get your ideas approved, execs are told, "Make sure it's a thick deck". A thick, bulging presentation.

And that - thank goodness - is miles away from the scrambled up world of work where you can make decisions in an instant, just like that, with no meetings, no referrals up and no thick presentations.

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