Wednesday, March 02, 2011


Status Meeting Worst Practices

Throughout my career, I frequently find myself partaking in weekly status meetings and have noticed several worst practices. Today, I will focus on what I believe is the worst of the worst...

OK, picture the senior most IT leaderexecutive running a meeting where each of the subordinates take turns telling the boss what's happening in each of their areas of responsibility.

When Manager X is speaking his/her piece, you might see Manager G, a bit further down the table, making a few notes. Do you think that the pen is moving has anything to do with what they are saying in the meeting?

Manager G is more than likely making notes for his/her own few minutes of addressing the kingboss. Managers who have already had their moment in the sun affect a passive listening posture that is very close to asleep. When the managers stand up and exit the room, they will typically not have any meaningful interactions with each other till the next time for the repeat of the ceremony.

Yes, I used the word ceremony as this is most certainly not a meeting. In real meetings, n number of people put their heads together to arrive at some conclusion or to take some new direction that requires both the input and participation of all.

Taking turns to talk to the boss is the biggest meeting farce ever invented and only serves as a ritual to celebrate the bossness of the boss. Of course the premise for the meeting is so that the management team can have an opportunity to converse. Maybe the challenge is in first acknowledging that there is no such thing as a management team.

Can we start with acknowledging that a team is a group of people who have joint responsibility for an outcome such as a work product? People who own nothing in common may be called a team, but they aren't. This construct primarily exists to spread responsibility and accountability over the management team without actually doing any real management.

This worst practice trumpets the advantages of having each manager entirely responsible for whatever is allocated to him/her. The flip side of this worst practice is the simplistic accountability scheme that results in managerial isolation...

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