Radically Honest Meetings

Meetings drive … productive people especially crazy … [but] serve valuable if hidden functions. For example, meetings publicize information about status. Who speaks? Who finds it necessary to praise whom? Who displays a confident demeanor? Meetings help managers and employees figure out how to build necessary coalitions. …

Meetings also confer a sense of control. Attendees feel like insiders who have a real voice in decisions. This boosts their motivation to implement ideas discussed as a group. For this reason it is especially important to listen to the blowhards and the obstructionists, who otherwise would pursue their own agendas rather than support a common plan.  Frequent meetings help a business apply bonuses and yearly evaluations with greater precision. … meetings reaffirm the value of the individual to the company. …

That is Tyler Cowen at his best.  Now when people talk about why we have meetings, or what function meetings served, we don’t usually talk about showing and judging status and buying off blowhards.  Could we talk more honestly about the function of meetings, or would that defeat the purpose? 

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