In HBR’s recent article entitled “Meetings Need a Shock Clock”, the authors Bob Frisch and Cary Greene tackle the conundrum of countless meetings with unrealistic agendas and the painful tugs of war that ensue as discussions on the first topics run on leaving equally important topics sentenced to the next painful, repeated process.
In addition to creating more realistic expectations for the meetings, Frisch and Greene suggest the introduction of the “Shot Clock” concept which was adopted by the NBA and NCAA to keep basketball games moving. The “Shot Clock” approach would limit the amount of time allowed on each item on the agenda, and would ensure every topic had its equal forum. While a challenge at first, they suggest embedding a shot clock criteria into the meetings can help to keep things moving.
A good start, but not enough. The success of a meeting isn’t just about productivity. It’s about the in game performance, the way the team play and the quality of the output. In order to ensure the shot clock concept produces the intended outcome, it’s important to consider the participants as athletes. In order to reap the benefit intended, the athletes in the meeting need to be performing at their optimal level, or what is also described as “in flow”.
Optimal performance can only be achieved if the players in the room are “Game Day” ready. The intellectual athlete requires four things to achieve flow:
1. Fuel – the fuel that is consumed prior to and during meetings, as well as the workday in general, impact performance. Providing healthy food and beverage options in the cafeteria, or meeting rooms throughout the day will have a positive influence over performance.
2. Floss – mental floss that is – a rested, clear head is a high performing one. Organizations offer programs on smoking cessation and weight loss, but few espouse the importance of developing healthy sleep patterns or the virtues of practices like napping, meditation or yoga.
3. Focus – a commitment to the meeting, the other players and the performance to shared purpose. Continually reaffirm the team commitment.
4. Field – the condition of the field or environment in which one is expected to perform also impacts ultimate performance. Comfortably furnished, well lit, ventilated and cooled work areas have the same impact as the right turf, temperature and air quality for the track and field competitor.
To optimize performance, advocate for ‘game day’ commitment every day. Educate your employees and provide the fuel, floss, focus and field to release the potential of your workforce.