Interesting article by McKinsey last week with the following heading:
“If we’re all so busy, why isn’t anything getting done?”
Followed by the first paragraph:
“With endless meetings, constant emails, and casts of thousands, companies have mastered the art of unnecessary interactions. Winning in the next normal requires much more focus on true collaboration.”
“Companies have mastered the art of unnecessary interactions.”
So, how busy are you?
How much are you getting done in the cobweb of unnecessary interactions?
McKinsey is not writing articles that don’t have a solid foundation. They do their research for each article before it gets published.
It’s safe to assume that, indeed, most of us feel we’re spending too much time in meetings, doing email, and connecting for connecting sake.
Here’s what the article states about that:
“It’s no wonder a recent McKinsey survey found 80 percent of executives were considering or already implementing changes in meeting structure and cadence in response to the evolution in how people work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indeed, most executives say they frequently find themselves spending way too much time on pointless interactions that drain their energy and produce information overload.”
To be honest, I don’t believe the pandemic just causes this trend.
It’s not that we did not have unnecessary interactions before the pandemic. It has just gotten worse.
Let’s dig in a little and check our awareness.
How many (unnecessary) meetings do you have weekly?
How many of those meetings do you leave feeling that you made a difference and added true value?
Are you making progress and adding value daily? Have you ever thought hard about this question?
Awareness is the first step.
So, how aware are you?
Am I making a point here? Do I make you uncomfortable with my questions?
If so, great.
If not, why not.
Because there’s no issue, or you’re in denial and unaware?
For the sake of this insight, I’m assuming I’m making a point here. McKinsey is not wrong, and I know this is an issue just by talking to people.
If you’re one of the true exceptions, great. I’m happy for you and the people you work with.
Because you’re doing a few things right.
For those who are busy and overwhelmed, here are a few suggestions to break through your mastery of unnecessary interactions and make things right:
- Pause and make time to create clarity and alignment about what you’re trying to cause. Do this for the big picture, but also for every meeting.
- Know what you want and what you don’t want. Say NO more often than you say YES. Make hard choices that make you uncomfortable.
- Create a culture of freedom and responsibility. Invest in trust. Trust is built when you know people’s character and competencies. Creating trust is a matter of time.
- Allow people to uninvite themselves from meetings or leave a meeting when they’re unproductive.
- Invest in a learning culture. Hire people with a growth mindset and let them fail and learn.
- Look in the mirror every evening. Did I make progress today? If not, why not?
- Look in the mirror the following day. Am I excited to go do what I need to be doing today? If not, why not. And how many consecutive days will you accept the fact you’re not excited before you make a change.
Being busy is easy.
You just ignore the hard choices and the time investment, and voila, you’re being busy.
But you’re not moving. The only thing you’re accomplishing is ‘mastering the art of unnecessary interactions.’
When you make the time to tackle the seven tips above, you’ll be aligned and laser-focused on what needs to get done.
People will only look for the interactions they need to move forward.
Not sure how to start answering the question from McKinsey at the start of this article?
That may be the hardest part.
Because pausing when you’re busy feels wrong.
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Your turn: How busy are you?
Do more of what makes you happy!
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