Holding a meeting of people from different cultures

In one of the People and Business Management workshops that I facilitate we ask participants to outline how they would approach their first meeting as the manager of a multicultural team. I’m always pleasantly surprised by the imagination and inclusiveness of the responses.

This article in the Harvard Business Review provides useful guidance. Here’s an excerpt:

Do

  • Study up on the variations that exist among cultures and how those differences play out in the workplace
  • Create protocols and establish norms so that your colleagues understand how meetings will run
  • Incentivize colleagues to step outside their cultural comfort zones by institutionalizing rewards around what you’re trying to motivate people to do

Don’t

  • Be hung up on how people from certain cultures are supposed to act—remember, people are capable of adapting and adjusting their cultural default
  • Force a perfect dynamic in meetings—solicit colleagues’ opinions in other venues and encourage people to provide feedback in different ways
  • Overlook the importance of team bonding—encourage colleagues to get to know each other outside of meetings so that cultural differences won’t seem as glaring

 

There’s nothing more toxic to productivity than a meeting

Here’s [sic] a few reasons why:

  • They break your work day into small, incoherent pieces that disrupt your natural workflow
  • They’re usually about words and abstract concepts, not real things (like a piece of code or some interface design)
  • They usually convey an abysmally small amount of information per minute
  • They often contain at least one moron that inevitably gets his turn to waste everyone’s time with nonsense
  • They drift off-subject easier than a Chicago cab in heavy snow
  • They frequently have agendas so vague nobody is really sure what they are about
  • They require thorough preparation that people rarely do anyway – via Getting Real.

If you absolutely MUST have a meeting, follow these rules.

When you absolutely must have a meeting, follow three simple rules

  1. Never have a meeting without a clear agenda.
  2. Invite as few people as possible.
  3. Set a 30 minute timer. When it rings, meeting’s over.

via

Meetings: the practical alternative to work

(thanks)

Effective meetings

A good place to start… with practical tips and even some fun stuff.

How to run a meeting like Google

marissa_mayer.jpgMarissa Mayer is Google’s vice-president of search products. She is the last stop before engineers and project managers get the opportunity to pitch their ideas to Google’s co-founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Eight teams consisting of directors, managers, and engineers answer to her. She holds an average of 70 meetings a week.

Her goal is to make sure teams have a firm mandate, strategic direction, and actionable information, while making participants feel motivated and respected. Here are Mayer’s six keys to running successful meetings:

1. Set a firm agenda.
2. Assign a note-taker.
3. Carve out micro-meetings.
4. Hold office hours.
5. Discourage politics, use data.
6. Stick to the clock.

(via BusinessWeek).