George Bush knows how to keep a meeting short

by on November 4, 2007 at 7:40 am in Political Science | Permalink

I used to think that short meetings were best.  Clearly, I confused the private with the social optimum.
Bushmeeting

For bonus points compare the picture with Tyler’s discussion of meetings.  How many items can you spot?

Meetings are not always about the efficient exchange of information, or
discovering a new idea. Meetings can be about displays of power,
signaling that a coalition is in place, wearing down an opponent,
staging "theater" to make someone feel better, giving key players the
feeling of being insiders, transmitting information about status, or
simply marking time until something better happens. It’s one thing to
hate meetings. But before you can improve them, make sure you know what
meetings are all about.

Hat tip to J-Walk Blog for the picture.

Bruce Bartlett November 4, 2007 at 11:08 am

The main purpose of meetings, in my experience, is to give the impression
that something is being done without actually doing anything. When your
boss asks you what you are doing on some project you have been assigned,
you say, “I have a meeting on that scheduled.” This makes your boss think
you are meaningfully engaged even though nothing is actually happening.

dearieme November 4, 2007 at 11:51 am

He’s sitting on his arse while there is a woman present, standing. His mother must be so ashamed.

jim November 4, 2007 at 3:20 pm

Hmmm … I’ve been on a fair # of software projects on both sides (ie programmer and mgmt). What the programmers fail to realize is that meetings really do help. They keep staff on track and reduce shirking for one.

Many programmer types can get fixated on a technical solution that provides no business value. Elegantly solving a problem that the customer doesn’t care about is wasted work.

The shirking is also more common than anyone likes to admit. The meetings just let everybody know the boss is keeping an eye on things. It also fosters healthy competition — it lets staff see how others are performing and lets the manager reward preferred behavior.

Regular meetings also help serious problems – like an employee dealing with a major personal problem – come to light earlier so they can be more positively dealt with. In a large enough project there’s always somebody with a serious problem that could seriously hamper their output.

Programmer types possibly don’t realize it as much — but behavioral changes really stand out to a good manager who runs regular meetings.

Shaun M. November 4, 2007 at 8:18 pm

Q&A session with the press is now considered a meeting?

Admiral November 4, 2007 at 10:34 pm

I think it’s good, as a leader, to have occasional meetings in order to establish authority. It helps you gauge the politics, to see who’s coming up, who shouldn’t come up, what ideas people have, who could be threats, and hopefully affirms the cohesiveness (or establishes the cohesiveness) of the team. Strong leaders should do this.

Rich Berger November 5, 2007 at 8:50 am

Tyler-

J-Walk is a great resource for spreadsheets and has some funny things on his blog. Nevertheless, he has an unremitting animus toward Bush. Was there any point to this attempt at a gratuitous insult? I cheer him when he makes the press uncomfortable. He ought to waterboard Helen Thomas.

lovelydisturbance November 8, 2007 at 12:03 am

on monday,our boss simply overlooked a scheduled meeting with 2 members of my team. it made me feel like the work was not of importance to him. on the meeting that he rescheduled, twice, to cover the first meeting on monday, he was 45 minutes late.

do you think he is trying to say something, indirectly, or just too busy?

guyacrossthehall November 10, 2007 at 10:35 am

In England, the Queen’s Privy Council, including the Queen, has been standing at its monthly meetings since the time of Queen Victoria…

>>>>Why does the Privy Council stand up during meetings?

We understand that this custom in place at Privy Council meetings was initiated by Queen Victoria following the death of the Prince Consort (1861), when she wished to reduce her public duties to the minimum necessary, although there is no documentary evidence. We know that the Prince Consort always attended Councils until his death, and the Council may have stood at the first Council after his death as a mark of respect. All that Queen Victoria needed to do, of course, to ensure that the Council stood was to remain standing herself. Etiquette does not allow sitting while the Sovereign is standing. To this day even The Queen stands at a PC meeting.

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