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As one gets promoted into the managerial and senior executive ranks, more and more time is spent participating in meetings; some studies estimate 40% - 50% of one’s time. This represents a sizeable chunk of productive time, which too often is not productively spent. For many leaders, the challenge is not so much with the meetings that they have lead responsibility for scheduling and managing. The challenge they face is with meetings with other stakeholders, both within their organization or very often from outside of their immediate organizational environment. These kinds of meetings emanate from the increasing need for collaboration with different partners, clients, and customers, a necessity for inclusive approaches in a very inter-connected and complex world.
Notwithstanding the need to participate in such meetings, these can be a source of time wasting for busy executives. All too often, these meetings are much longer than necessary, and poorly managed, leaving one dreaming of a way of escape. However, escaping these meetings all together is not necessarily a solution that is available or politically feasible. So, what can you do? One approach could be to try to influence how these meetings are managed. Below are some possible steps that one could take:
Ultimately, one has to recognize one’s time as a limited resource that has to be utilized strategically. It requires the setting of appropriate boundaries, and having the courage and confidence to have the conversations to ensure that boundaries are recognized and respected. You might even be pleasantly surprised how the other party might be having the same challenge, and is welcoming of an opportunity to explore how to better manage their meetings and limited time.
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