Posts

Making Meetings Matter: The First Step

Meeting ImageThe first step in making your meetings and other conversations matter is to be more intentional about them.

However, because every one of us engages in work-related conversations of all kinds every day, it is highly unrealistic to suggest that you spend time thinking through every conversation before it takes place.

So let’s focus on formal meetings. Every meeting you set up and hold consumes scarce corporate resources – time and money. Don’t walk into any meeting or significant conversation without thinking through the basic variables, being clear about your purpose and expectations for the meeting, and sharing those expectations with the invited participants.

What information will you share during the meeting? What information do you want to learn? What decisions will be made? What commitments do you need, and from whom? How will you get to where you need to be? Read more

Meetings are the Heart of the Future of Work

covermeetingI was recently interviewed about Making Meetings Matter by Dr. Jac Fitz-Enz (“Interviewing Jim Ware”). In the course of our conversation he asked me why I had moved from my long-term focus on the future of work to something as “mundane” as corporate meetings.

Dr. Jac’s question caught me a bit off guard, but it made me think. Here’s his question and my response:

Dr. Jac:

Jim what took you from the lofty heights of futuring to the more mundane issues around meetings? There’s no question that we all suffer from meetingitis, but what drew you to it?

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Making the Invisible Visible

conversationsAlan Webber suggested over 20 years ago that the core work of knowledge-based organizations is conversation – the creation and exchange of ideas, information, knowledge, and even wisdom (see “What’s So New about the New Economy?Harvard Business Review, January-February 1993).

Then Webber asks and answers a really important question about the role of management in a knowledge-based business:

If the new work of the company is conversation, then what is the job the manager? Put simply: to create an environment where employees can have productive conversations rather than counterproductive ones, useful conversations rather than useless ones.

In my humble opinion, we should be spending far more energy than we do focusing on the quality of corporate conversations, and on teaching managers at all levels how to start and foster meaningful conversations that ultimately produce value for both customers and employees. Read more

Creativity versus Cortisol

As I suggested last week (“Thinking About Thinking“), in today’s fast-paced business world it’s extremely difficult to find time to think on our own – and thus to be creative. Pressure for productivity, in combination with open office designs, means that not only are most of us collaborating with others most of the time, but we often can’t find a quiet place in the office even when we actually want some private “think time.”

But in turns out my analysis left out an incredibly important factor that makes our quest for creativity even more difficult than I realized. And may be making us more obese than we’d like.

My colleague and close friend Candace Fitzpatrick, the founder and president of CoreClarity, gently pointed out to me a few days ago that the biggest barrier to creativity in the workplace may well be stress – the tension we feel to perform at high levels, to respond quickly to emails and voice messages, and to accept as “normal” the insecurities many of us feel about our jobs and our lives more broadly.

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Future of Work Agenda Newsletter: November/December 2010

This is the November/December 2010 issue of our free monthly newsletter, Future of Work Agenda. We welcome comments on any of these articles. You can also access the newsletter directly on our website, at this link.

“Two roads diverged in a wood. . .” (Robert Frost)

Believe it or not, this is the 100th issue of Future of Work Agenda. [continue reading...]

Future of Work Agenda Newsletter: October 2010

This is the October 2010 issue of our free monthly newsletter, Future of Work Agenda. We welcome comments on any of these articles. You can also access the newsletter directly on our website, at this link.

It’s often said that it’s darkest before dawn. But we like to pay more attention to the “early light” that always precedes sunrises. [continue reading...]

Managing a Remote Workforce

We just posted a note on the workshifting.com blog about our latest research white paper, “Managing a Remote Workforce:  Proven Practices from Succesful Leaders.” The post is a highly condensed version of the full 20-page paper, which you can download for free from the workshifting site. Check it out. You won’t regret it. [continue reading...]

Future of Work Agenda Newsletter: September 2010

This is the September 2010 issue of our free monthly newsletter, Future of Work Agenda. We welcome comments on any of these articles. You can also access the newsletter directly on our website, at this link.

Fall is in the air—at least here in North America. We’re all back from our summer vacations and gearing up to push that big economic rock back up the hill. [continue reading...]

Taking Charge of Your Future

Charlie Grantham and I were honored to be the keynote speakers at the Corenet Carolina’s Chapter major learning event in Charlotte, North Carolina, on August 18. The program, “The Future of Work:  People, Process, & Places,” was attended by over 300 workplace and real estate professionals. Here’s our presentation:

Future of Work Agenda Newsletter: July-August 2010

This is the July-August 2010 issue of our free monthly newsletter, Future of Work Agenda. We welcome comments on any of these articles. You can also access the newsletter directly on our website, at this link.

By the time you read this newsletter it will be almost August, followed closely by September. Where did the summer go?

Actually, of course, if you are anything like us, you may slow down just a bit during the summer months, but it’s generally more satisfying to stay busy (we know we’re ignoring our friends and colleagues in the southern hemisphere, but we hope you’ll bear with us). [continue reading...]