Death by Meetings

We either have too many meetings, or too few of them. Some may think that quantity means quality but I like to err on the side of succinctness and that less is more. Although meetings are a bane to the proletariat working class, it is the best place for a dark manager to be. It is a communion of thoughts, a socialist movement to delegate work; and ensures the righteous organization moves toward the direction that it intended to.

Typically a meeting has the following items:-

  • Objective - What you want to get out of the meeting.
    In which case, it should be a desired “result”. A problem that needs to be solved etc.
  • Agenda
    Items to be discussed, could be informational, could be status update or it could be action based with an owner.
  • The Next Meeting
    Place, Time, who’s the next minute taker and such

However, within the organization that’s rife with artful managers, the meetings will devolve into the following action items:-

  • Be the first person to scream about a potential problem caused by the success of another manager or department. Whine as bad as you can about the looming catastrophe and gargantuan mistake of deploying that product. Especially if it requires effort from your team.
    • If it eats up bandwidth, over report how loaded the network is right now
    • If it is a recommended upgrade to an existing system that you’re running, under report the daily statistics such that the upgrade is unnecessary.
  • Try not to get to the point; the preamble alone should raise 9 other seemingly related issues that need to be resolved before your issue can be addressed.
  • Focus on gathering status updates that do not bring value. E.g. the project is currently 1.2% complete compared to 1.1% yesterday.
  • Invite every single team member, in the hope that everyone gets updated about the meeting. Somehow the chair person swears against online collaboration portals. Because, he believes that information should be hard to get, the moment its easy, people will ignore it. Alas, hard copy is the way to go.
  • Have each person provide a status update, making sure that its long, detailed and have everyone else wait their turn; even though the first 90 minutes of the meeting do not involve them at all.
  • Complain about the bad grammar of the minutes
  • Complain about why it’s highly important to have a logo and page number for the minutes
  • Have these meetings on a daily basis as it’s the best way to block your calendar from addressing to more pressing issues
  • Invite junior personnel so that you can embarrass them with harsh words and put downs for a small mistake that the guy did. It’s known as a power move and shows off your bravado and insistence on discipline within your team.
  • Last but not least, raise more menial issues that hide major problems, the meeting will not be a dark management success unless you come out of it with 100% more agendas.

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