210 – Lists Are the Reason for Meetings

Meetings are one of the greatest wastes of any organization. The Sunday morning monologue worked well in a world without phone lines, but today a weekly monologue at an indoor amphitheater is a waste since a podcast will do much better. The same is true of companies. “Conference” is different, but shouldn’t be more than once a month. The purpose there is to cultivate widespread excitement over common interests. But, “conferences” are different from “meetings”.

The purpose of having a meeting is to host discussion.

Healthy operations require lists, but humans are born to not understand lists. Learning to understand, create, follow, keep, update, and recognize items on a list is part of growing up in a civilized society—and the learning never stops nor is it ever easy. Good parents teach their children the art of “listing” at an early age just as a good supervisor and mentor helps employees, volunteers, and students see how lists work in the real world.

Even God gave Moses a list, the Ten Commandments. It’s hard to obey all ten as with any moral code. Sometimes remembering is the hard part, sometimes it’s applying, sometimes it’s understanding, but, with morals, most of the time the hardest thing is the willingness to obey. But, remembering that even morals are simply a list of things to do that, if done, will result in a perfect product, the obedience part becomes a little less difficult.

Listing is a lifelong study. That’s why managing lists are best done at group meetings.

Every member of an administration—every employee and volunteer—along with every member of a family—everyone already has two “lists”, sometimes we even write them down. The first list is the “de facto” list, the list of things we actually do. The second list is the “prescribed” list, the list of things we should do. The list to write down first is not the prescribed, but the de facto.

Know what you are doing day to day. Write it down as if you needed to guide yourself over the phone. Talk with others about how to “list” better. Then, you’ll have a better idea of what you should be doing.