Being timely, and the importance of time and timing has been on my mind a lot lately. If you choose to read on – you will be  sorely tempted to believe that what follows doesn’t apply to you. After all – you’re smart right? I mean – you’re here reading this 😉 Please – try not to rush to exclude yourself from what follows. If not for your sake – then for others. You are influential and the way you behave influences others. No man is an island.


The way we schedule meetings at work is bonkers, back to back to back to back. And unless one of you has invented time travel (pause….nope, OK let’s carry on then), you know the impossibility of back to back to back meetings and let you let people delude you into having them all the time. A cram packed diary is the diary of a madman (note – ladies the same applies to you also but there’s no Ozzy Osbourne album title reference available to use for you…yet).

Then – we cram these ‘important’ meetings full of ‘important’ stuff and either rush it, or don’t cover everything. As a result we often make bad decisions based on bad meetings. Sound familiar? To my mind, if that meeting is both necessary and important, then why not ensure it’s meaningful too? Take at least half the crap, I mean important stuff, off the agenda.


aka presence, aka be here now.


If you are afforded the privilege of talking at a conference or some other live event, please, finish on time. Unless you want to run the risk of being remembered as ‘the guy who overran’. You don’t want that – do you?


It is half past eight in the morning here in New Orleans, and I’m hungry. Breakfast time, in fact any mealtime, matters. I try not to skip them too often and I try, wherever possible, to enjoy my food in the company of others. I hope you do too. For example, last night I met up with Tommy Talley (we’d first met the day before at the Louisiana State HR Conference in Baton Rouge) and we went out and shared oysters and crawfish. We got talking with Jean and Alyssa and it turned out Jean really didn’t like dining alone either. After our meal we went to a funky cocktail joint and over a Side Car we looked up fear of dining alone. It’s called Solomangarephobia. Who knew?

Wishing you a super day.

Stand Up!

A lot of folk I speak with seem mighty pissed off these days. What about? The humble meeting, that’s what. I was running a workshop recently and the group got really animated about meetings. How poorly prepared, badly run, and terribly followed up they are. And don’t get us started on late arrivals.

One of the group suggested having meetings standing up. Keeps people on their toes (har har). These stand up meetings are usually short, and to the point. And there’s nothing wrong with that. So this morning I hopped onto Twitter and posed the question:

“Someone suggested running meetings with no chairs in the room as a way of getting stuff done quickly. What do you think?”

Good old Twitter – you’ll never let me down…

Callum Saunders loved the idea

Rob Jones suggested “sit down and focus”

Lara Newman told us that where she works they call the idea “The bird table”. I love that

Gary Smailes got in touch to say Tesco run meetings on their feet

Lord Manley suggested email as an alternative, is this a choice of two nightmares I wonder?

Jo McMahon likes stand up agile meetings – keep it brief and focussed

Green Contact likes 15 minute flash meetings – keep it sharp

Mr Airmiles has experience of stand up meetings – and he thinks they are great! He and I have previously spoken about desks that you can wind up and down to stand and sit at too.

Flora Marriott did the maths for us. stand up = definitely. Toyota might claim to have invented it, she adds.

And Greg Savage (yeah him again) popped by to share some great thinking around whether or not meetings should even take place.

I’ll be covering other aspects of the dreaded meeting soon. Meantime I love these suggestions – and I’d be keen to hear if other people have more to add.

Update: here is an interesting addition to the debate courtesy of Tobias Mayer over at Agile Anarchy. Don’t have meetings is his suggestion.