In survey after survey company meetings get knocked by everyone from employees to senior executives as being among the biggest waste of work hours.
In one poll, by Office Team, 45 percent of senior executives said their firms would be more productive if they banned all meetings at least one day a week!
"The problem that often occurs - beyond the obvious, like lacking a clear agenda - is the underlying current of competition that each person brings to the table," says Berny Dohrmann, chairman and founder of CEO Space International, and author of Redemption: The Cooperation Revolution.
"Competition pulls people apart; cooperation brings them together. Signs that competition is causing unproductive meetings include one or two people dominating the floor; individuals touting their achievements; people consistently failing to contribute their ideas because they fear being criticized or ridiculed," he says.
The drive to compete is so ingrained in most of us, we often don't recognize it, says Dohrmann.
"We get it culturally. We learn it in school. It's often reinforced within our own families as we're growing up. We have to be aware of that and identify the culture we want, then set about creating it - beginning with our meetings."
Cooperative meetings yield far better results, he says. People working together toward a goal are more efficient, more productive, and even happier. The group pulling together toward the same goal will achieve that goal far more quickly than individuals each pulling in opposite directions, says Dohrmann.
How can you turn competition into cooperation - and wasted meetings into fruitful gatherings? He offers these suggestions:
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