I’ve been watching more than my fair share of cookery shows on the TV lately, and of course, meetings, and how to make them better, are never really far from my mind. So when I started really paying attention to these things, I noticed that cooking a good meal is just like managing a good meeting.
You start off with deciding what you want. Is it a light meal? A pot roast? Supper for the kids? Once you have your goal in mind, writing down your agenda is much easier finding the recipe is much easier.
Now you have the general idea of what you want to eat, you find a suitable recipe and study it – what vegetables you need, what sauces you’ll need to buy, what spices you need to stock up on, and preparing the general ingredients. In other words, making sure that you know the meeting’s agenda beforehand, and not starting a meeting by thinking ‘what are we going to talk about today?’
So you have your goal and your agenda. What’s next on the list? That’s right, actually preparing the food. Chopping up onions, adding salt and pepper, mixing in the tomatoes and carrots, making sure the water is at the right level, preparing some pea – what’s that? What about dessert? An excellent idea, but not now. Right now, you’re focused on your goal (the meal) and your agenda (the recipe). The dessert can go to the parking lot for now, and after you’ve finished what you are doing, and the project is launched the meal is ready to serve, you can (and should :-)) think about dessert.
I don’t know about you, but while I’m preparing a meal, I’m also mentally checking off tasks in my head that will need to be done when I’ve finished making the food, and all that’s left is to let it simmer for fifteen minutes. There’s tidying up to do, dishwasher to be stacked, table to be set, kids to be called and so on. Basically, it’s a list of tasks that need to be completed. By me and the kids. Which means that you have to list the tasks for them (at least once), remind them to do their tasks (at least three times), and follow up on the tasks to make sure they are done before the meal is complete.
And after the meal is over? You get feedback, and you know how to improve for next time :-).
So, if you:
- Have a goal
- Plan an agenda
- Write down tasks
- Follow them up
- Learn how to improve
Then you’ll have better meetings AND better meals. And what could be better than that?