As I have written many times, “you accomplish what you meet about.” (I learn this and have this reinforced from so many sources, but it is especially described in vivid detail, with a clear action plan, in the excellent book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish).
Meetings are simply well planned conversations. And conversations are at the heart of all business progress.
There are books: Crucial Conversations, Crucial Confrontations, Fierce Conversations. But I like Susan Scott’s summary of the why in her more recent book, her “follow-up” to Fierce Conversations, Fierce Leadership:
The conversation is the relationship. …business is fundamentally an extended conversation with colleagues, customers, and the unknown future emerging around us. What gets talked about in a company and how it gets talked about determines what will happen. Or won’t happen.
A leader’s job is to engineer the types of conversations that produce epiphanies.
In the old days, when we worked on farms or on assembly lines, we could work without many conversations, all day, day after day. But in today’s world, for most of us, we work this way:
• alone, I get “my” work done.
• then, together, we get “our” work done.
And it is back and forth, from alone time to together time. It is this rhythm that defines out work, and then within and from this rhythm we accomplish our work.
And at the heart of it all, we need conversations. Conversations with ourselves, and collaborative conversations, and occasional confrontational conversations.
(And, by the way, some of those crucial confrontations are with ourselves, and some of those are with co-workers, and some of those are with our bosses… and some of them might even be with our customers).
Here is an important reminder: What is a conversation? It is this (I heard this years ago, from either a pastor or theology professor, I don’t remember which. So, my apology for not giving full credit; I simply do not remember the source):
• the first person speaks while the second person listens
• then the second person speaks while the first person listens
• this is called turn-taking (you take turns speaking, AND! you take turns listening.
It is that listening component that so many of us have trouble with.
Oh, and one more thing, You have to schedule time, save time, take time for those conversions. Remember, these are crucial conversations, and they are definitely worth your time!
So, here is your challenge for today: Have more, have better, have lots of conversations.
How good are you at the art of conversation? No matter how good you are, it’s probably time to get better.
But most of all, have those conversations!