Boosting meeting productivity

I found that most of the meetings organized are a waste of time !

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But, you have probably found that some meetings are necessary and productive, whereas others are not.

I defined productive meetings as well run while respect people’s time and energy. In contrast, nonproductive meetings tend to be disorganized, without a clear sense of purpose or effective facilitation.

Before you schedule a meeting, think about whether it is really needed.

You might be able to achieve your goals via phone calls, emails, or a memo.

So, if you determine that a meeting is necessary, always remember to

  • Create a clear agenda. A good meeting agenda lets people know what they need to prepare for the meeting, how long the meeting will take, and what you expect to accomplish.
  • Think carefully about the attendee list. Be sure everyone you invite needs to be there. If certain team members don’t need to be part of the discussion, but do need to know the outcomes, send them a copy of the meeting notes.
  • Schedule short meetings. If you schedule an hour for a meeting, you will likely use all that time. Depending on what you want to accomplish, try scheduling 15- or 30-minute meetings.
  • Start on time. Don’t wait for people who are late—it wastes the time of those who showed up promptly. Once you get a reputation for starting your meetings on time, attendees will be there on schedule.
  • Run an efficient meeting. Stick to the agenda and cut off tangential discussions. You don’t need to be harsh, but keep things moving and on track.

How to Say No to Colleagues?

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It can be difficult to say ‘No’ to your colleagues.

It can be difficult to turn down a colleague’s request for help.

You worry that your coworker won’t understand that you can’t say “yes” to everything.

You may even fear that your inability to accommodate the request might be seen as confrontational and damage the relationship that you foster years to form.

Fortunately, there are ways to decline a colleague’s request while still preserving your relationship.

When saying “no” to a colleague:

  • Stay neutral. Use your own language, but say “no” to the request in a steady,        un-inflected, and clear tone. Avoid being combative or apologetic. A neutral “no” emphasizes the business aspect of the request, not the personal side.
  • Be honest up front. You may be tempted to hold back the real reason for saying “no,” if you think doing so might soften the blow. But avoid appearing untrustworthy by being frank about the real reason. But make sure the real reason is valid, not just made-up.
  • Show empathy. If you sense friction during the conversation, address it directly and compassionately. For example, say, “It’s very difficult for me to say ‘no.’ It must be difficult for you to hear it, too.”
  • Stick with it. If you have a good reason for declining the request, be firm about it. If you express ambivalence, you may encourage your colleague to keep pushing you to change your answer.
  • Practice. Consider practicing ahead of time with a friend. A neutral “no” does not always come naturally. Practice made perfect !

Step of Ethical Decision Making

How to approach dilemmas with regards to ethical decision making?

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This  is a structured approach for ethical decision-making which consists of three steps, it enables you to systematically weight your options and consider the consequences for the best course of action:

  • Step 1: Gather and analyze the facts. Ask questions like “Do I have all the information I need to make this decision?” and “Did I defined the problem/issue accurately?”
  • Step 2: Consider the consequences. Ask questions like “Who could be negatively impacted by my decision?” and “What would the parties who’d be affected by my decision think?”
  • Step 3: Test your decision. Ask questions like “Will my decision seem just as valid years from now as it does today?” and “Can I discuss my decision with people whom I respect openly and without reservation?”

Using the proposed approach may seem time-consuming at first. However, if you practice using this approach, ultimately you’ll become so familiar with it that you’ll be able to work through it automatically.

How to make the most of your travel time

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For most business executive, travel is essential, to make the most of it:

  • Take paperwork and work-related reading. You can be productive while you are waiting in terminals or in transit.
  • Use the interruption-free travel time to your advantage. Spend time thinking about your strategic challenges or planning new initiatives. I usually spend more time to actually plan my career growth based on current set of circumstances and progress/
  • Make the most of your travel days. If you are flying to a city for a morning meeting, schedule afternoon meetings with customers, vendors, or other organizations you do business with. It will reduce the cost to operate (OPEX) for your company as well as give you more fulfillment.

Procrastination

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What is procrastination?

Procrastination is the habit of delaying or putting off doing something that should be done right away. Everyone procrastinates sometimes. But when people procrastinate, they run the risk of jeopardizing their projects and off course their own reputations.

Procrastination also add unnecessary stress.

Putting off tasks doesn’t mean they disappear – those unfinished jobs often weigh on people’s minds. The last-minute scramble to complete high-priority items creates chaos and increases the likelihood of errors. Plus, it cause your ‘panic monkey’ to go out of control and often if not always, the outcome is unsatisfactory.

Because people procrastinate for different reasons, different strategies are useful for overcoming the problem:

  • What if the task are unpleasant or uninteresting
    • Delegate the task to someone who doesn’t find it unpleasant.
    • Admit you’re procrastinating—and then get the job done.
    • Envision how good you’ll feel once you’ve completed the task.
    • Schedule the task in a way that makes turning back impossible or costly. For example, commit to paying a contract worker for a job, starting on a specific date.
    • Consider the impact of not completing the task on your coworkers or on your other projects.
  • What if you are in fear of failure
    • If you lack the training or resources needed to complete an assignment, get the help you need.
    • If your fear stems from lack of self-confidence, defuse it by listing all the tasks you have to do to complete the job. You’ll likely find that you know how to do most of them.
    • Start with something you know. Any kind of movement on the task can help dispel fear.
  • What to do if you not sure where to start?
    • Jump in anywhere. You’ll likely find a productive way forward.
    • Break a difficult or overwhelming task into smaller, manageable ones.
    • At the end of the day, spend a few minutes on a task you want to work on the next morning. For example, you may jot down some notes about a report you need to write. The next day, you’ll probably find it easier to continue working on the project than if you hadn’t already started it.

A Note on Goal Setting

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Why have you been so successful in reaching some of your goals but not others?

If you are not sure, you are far from alone in your confusion. The intuitive answer that you were born predisposed to certain talents and lacking in others is really just one very small piece of the puzzle. In fact, decades of research on achievement suggest that successful people reach their goals not simply because of who they are, but more often because of what they do, also some help on luck, timing and opportunities.

Here are four tips on how to set and achieve your goals.

(1) First, get specific about what you want to achieve. Also, think about the specific actions that need to be taken to reach your goal. Just promising you’ll get better at responding to email is too vague. Be clear and precise: “I’ll acknowledge every email within 24 hours” leaves no room for doubt about what you need to do and whether or not you’ve actually done it. It is harder to measure how you are doing if the goal are not specified, plus, specification will give you merits on which your performance are measured.

(2) Second, decide where and when you will act on your goals. Given how busy most of us are and how many goals we are juggling at once, it’s not surprising that we routinely miss opportunities to act on a goal. Did you really have no time to work out today? No chance at any point to return that phone call? Achieving your goal means grabbing hold of these opportunities before they slip through your fingers. Again, be as specific as possible. Block out time in your calendar. For instance, you might decide that if it’s Monday, Wednesday, or Saturday, you’ll spend 30 minutes at 9:00 a.m. researching new sales leads. Studies have shown that this kind of planning will help your brain detect and seize that opportunity when it arises, increasing your chances of success by roughly 300%.

(3) Many of us believe that our intelligence, our personality, our physical aptitudes are fixed—that no matter what we do, we won’t improve. As a result, we focus on goals that are all about proving ourselves rather than developing and acquiring new skills. Try to shift your mindset to a “get better” mindset instead of holding yourself to impossible standards of perfection. If everything is perfect, then, there’s no room for improvement !

(4) Finally, focus on what you will do, not what you won’t do. Research on thought suppression has shown that trying to avoid a thought makes it even more active in your mind. For instance, if I tell you not to think about white bears, then all you’ll end up thinking about is white bears. The same holds true when it comes to behavior. By trying not to engage in a bad habit, our habits get strengthened instead of broken. If your goal is to overcome a bad habit, like losing your temper at work, focus on what you’ll do instead. For example, if you’re trying to gain control of your temper, you might make a plan like, “If I’m starting to feel angry, then I will take three deep breaths to calm down.” By using deep breathing as a replacement for giving in to your anger, your bad habit will get worn away over time, until it disappears completely.

Remember, you don’t need to become a different person to become a more successful one.

It’s never what you are, but what you do.

Project Management Tips : Managing Time-wasting Bosses

Some bosses unknowingly create time-wasting impediments for their direct reports which usually include:

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  • Unclear goals. If you and your boss don’t have the same expectations about your goals, you may end up producing disappointing results. Meet with your supervisor regularly to agree on your goals, ensure they support the organization’s strategy, and assign deadlines.
  • Confusing instructions. Supervisors sometimes have specific preferences for how they want something done, but don’t communicate those preferences clearly. When this happens, their employees end up wasting time redoing work.

So, when your manager asks you to handle a project:

  1. Draft a preliminary plan for how you intend to approach the task.
  2. Review the plan with your boss and incorporate her feedback.
  3. Have her review the plan again until you have her approval.

If you use this process consistently, your boss will eventually realize she can save time by being more specific when he / she assigns the work.

  • Time-consuming approvals. Some supervisors need to approve everything before letting their employees take the next steps in completing a task. Not surprisingly, these bosses often can’t respond in a timely fashion to the many decisions they’d like to make. Tasks get held up, and initiatives grind to a halt.

To help expedite delayed tasks:

  1. Assess how the approval process has impeded productivity.
  2. Meet with your boss to discuss your findings and to offer possible solutions. By communicating the problem and pointing out its costs, you may be able to persuade him to relinquish some control.
  3. Develop remedies that your boss can live with. For instance, identify tasks that can proceed without management approval. Or urge him to delegate approval authority to you or someone else for less-critical tasks.