Tuesday, 26 May 2009

"Meeting in Gothenburg"

Long time ago me and a collegue defined a new organization. We also defined the governance structure and setup. We included all meetings, boards, decision & escalation paths, authorities & levels... All!

We presented the setup to the group of managers affected. They applauded. We asked if this covered everything they needed. "Yes". We asked again - Have we covered all and every meeting needed? And they all responded with "YES".

The managers decided that this was what they needed. Not more - not less. And we spent a few minutes discussing how to get "the show on the road", i.e. implement the governance structure.
It was in that discussion one of the managers suddenly suggested:

-"Well, I have made reservation for a group meeting in Gothenburg next week. Maybe we can detail this then? And actually I am thinking that we can have these group meetings, say, every second month."
-"Yes. Good suggestion", all responded.

This group meeting in Gothenburg was not in our governance structure. Neither was any bimonthly group meetings of that kind. And yet they all stated 15 minutes earlier that the governance setup was all they ever needed.

So where did this extra meeting come from? Seems we actually did a lousy job explaining the setup - since it only took a few minutes until the group had added new elements to the governance structure.

Since then my collegue and I use "meeting in Gothenburg" for situations where a group seems to understand and share knowledge. And yet do something in a complete different direction... Indicating that they did not understand. Or just ignored what they just acknowledged...

1 comment:

  1. I lean more on the ignore what you offered, while still holding steady in the lack of your partner and you to transfer the information in a way that the managers understood.

    I find this challenge constantly, people only hear what they are listening to.

    How do you get them to listen?
    My approach is what I call the diarrhea style, let a lot of information fly and hope the stink and splatter leaves a mark somewhere in their minds ;-)