They laughed when I opened the Executive’s Outlook calendar. But when he started to explain…
Come with me on an exciting journey into the modern day executive’s calendar.
What do you see? Meeting. Meeting. Meeting. One-on-One. Panel talk. Conf call. Zoom meeting. Meeting. Meeting. Powerpoint slide deck. Maybe one tiny writing project if they feel they have the time, which they probably don’t.
What’s the recurring theme here? MEETINGS.
If you’re an executive, your professional life revolves around meetings and little else. Seems strange, really, that the higher up we go in the org, the more our day is swallowed up by meetings. It is no wonder executives complain so much about their days — they aren’t their days! No. Not really.
Only they are. They are their days! This is their time! They just forgot they have agency over their days despite this snow storm of meetings that caps their brains. I sure hope they think they have agency over their days and how their time is best spent. Isn’t that one of the key things that got them into the executive suites in the first place?
A bet on time management.
Here’s a bet. I bet you could go into an executive’s calendar and immediately slash 40% of all their meetings without the people who attend / run these meetings much caring at all. This one action gives them 40% of their time back today. What a gift! Time!
I imagine they’d be paranoid and worried about what they might be missing in all these meetings they no longer have to attend.
Look: if you don’t have anything to contribute to the meeting and cannot provide any value there, you can get a half-page summary of the meeting emailed to you. Which ought to be the outcome / attendance of all meetings anyway. One 1/2 page summary. Read it in about 45 seconds. Get the gist of it. Move on.
A simple meeting summary — why so elusive?
So many meetings can and should be sent in a half page Word doc or simple email with no attendance required. It states two things: 1) here’s what we decided; 2) this is who is does what by when. There. Done. ✅
*A great way to make someone miserable is to make their work day chock-full of meetings, most of which they do not actually have to attend.*
We’ve got to get them creating again! We’ve got to get them excited again! We’ve got to capture their wisdom and get it shared with the rest of the team. We’ve got to get them pitching ideas and then executing on them. We’ve got to get them teaching their best practices and sharing them with the org. We’ve got to get them outside of the meeting zone and back into the creativity zone where they make things happen.
*No one wants to look back on their professional life and say, “Well, I attended a lot of meetings…**
“Now, I’ll head off into retirement where no one will ever meet with me again! “ “I’ll show them!**
No. They don’t. They don’t say that.
They want to look back on their professional life and see what they created. They want to look back and see who they helped to shape. They want to look back on their professional life and see what people did with what they were taught. They want to look back and see how far they’ve come with the tools they created and shared, and see how these tools helped people grow in their roles. THAT’s legacy work. THAT’s the stuff they’ll remember you by.
It is ironic that 80% to 90% of an executive’s day is spent doing things that no one will remember you by. Let’s flip that around.
Take the Creative Thought Leader path.