Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sometimes You Have To Make It Formal


Life gets busy. Things are constantly being thrown at you. We are asked to pay attention to everything and at the same time. I, for one, never seem to do a great job of multitasking. You want me to listen while I'm watching television? Yeah, that's not gonna happen. How do you address this situation? By making it formal.

The other day, after finishing a meeting, I wanted to sit down and talk with my boss. Unfortunately, he had other plans. He asked if I'd walk with him so as to give me time to speak my mind. As we walked, I knew immediately that I didn't have his full attention. I'm sure he had plenty on his mind and I was but one of those things.

As we got closer to his car, I realized that my message was heard but not taken seriously. Why should it? I silently asked myself. Who has a serious conversation under these circumstances?

"I instituted a weekly family meeting where we can focus on those issues, coordinate our calendars, plan upcoming projects, and just talk about family stuff"

After a few hours, it dawned on me. If I felt strongly about my message, I should have made a formal request to meet with him. Doing so will insure I get enough time to say what I must. Furthermore, he can focus on the issue at hand and not on another meeting or report he needs to write.

At home, I found that I was guilty of the same thing. As an example, my family has a tendency to overload me with information soon after I get home from work. I'm interested, but I'm not entirely prepared to solve the many issues that arise during the day. As a result, I instituted a weekly family meeting where we can focus on those issues, coordinate our calendars, plan upcoming projects, and just talk about family stuff.

After a successful meeting, I think the idea will work quite nicely. Based upon their reactions, we addressed the immediate needs and even had time to look ahead at items far off into the future.

The lesson here, whether it's for business or personal, is that formalizing the process is a good thing. Sure, it's ok to be flexible and spontaneous, but not all the time.

So, what do you think? Am I off base or right on? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Leave me a comment in the section below.

Until next time...

Photo credit: Eric Cuthbert

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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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