Meeting Productivity Goals

Dec 11, 2016     By Michael Grace

Productivity has been broadly defined as "Using minimum input to achieve maximum output"

Adjusted for our modern vernacular: "Applying minimum resources to achieve maximised targeted outcomes"

Translated: We should already know the "targeted" outcomes, so what measures & methods now maximise our achievement potential?

In a world of rapid technology developments, this is the point & the question where we again & again evaluate which new approaches, technologies or products will now change one or more paradigms or a long entrusted status quo for us.

In that vein, today we will re-evaluate one of my oldest & most trustworthy friends & servants:

The pen & paper at meetings.

I will admit it, I have been a pen and paper stalwart for decades, studiously jotting down all the relevant points and intel from meetings. As I was a known prodigious note-taker, I was often asked and sometimes indeed aggregated and distributed them, or entered these items into CRM summaries for the team.

The basic reason for pen and paper?

It meant that I had all my notes, points and data that I wanted and could refer to in one central location, easy for me to access. Well, as long as I had that specific notebook or pad with me. Entering these points and data into the CRM was almost always lagging, and how often did we all actually do that when our perception was that no-one was actually accessing or using the data anyway?

I also found it diverted my attention when I was tapping away at a keyboard and app-switching.

Like any technologist I welcome applications that automate, integrate and centralise most if not all of the functions I need to master areas of our daily life and business processes, for example in this case meetings.

We all value productivity in some form. I just had not been able to find an application that achieved enough of these functions that I was not app-flipping during online tele-conference and in-person meetings, whilst still needing to take notes for the aspects the applications did not cover, and then export chunks of the resulting data & recorded decisions to the CRM for collaboration.

Then, we had all the typical meeting invitations, organising who connects with what communications platform or device, will there be screen or video sharing, distribution of preparation docs, who is using which online storage platform etc decisions and co-ordination.

In networking and security technology developments, we often refer to 'point solutions" that perform a single or some functions very well, and then need to interface to or integrate with other products to achieve a total solution. Then someone integrates these two or three products and we have a solution platform, till two or more of these are integrated and we eventually achieve an "end to end" product solution.

That would be a standardised installation and everything you need for a standard and defined task group is accomplished and provided to a suitable professional standard. We called that the "A single pane of glass" experience. One screen, just click and work.

Everything I needed would be a click away on a single screen. From "Go" to "Whoa". In the context of meeting management and enhancing the productivity of the overall meeting experience, I set my requirements to move from my "pen & paper" scenario to a digital meeting & collaboration world in a single, albeit full sentence:

"An application that provides and automates every step of my various meetings from the moment we decide to have one, facilitates all the invites and main stages of the meeting and decisions, through to every participant and stakeholder having immediate online access to the outcomes, results, relevant intel, documents and a collaboration arena, that allows all stakeholders to efficiently leverage off and further contribute to the ongoing value of the project."

Now that would be a package of measures and methods that actually maximise the potential of achieving the "targeted" outcomes of my meetings.

Big ask. However, I was shown the pre-release specs and scope of one such ambitious application package last week, and so far it goes beyond anything I have seen so far and looks the goods. If the development presentation this week lives up to those specs and scoping, I will go into more detail on what it should achieve next week, and look forward to entering any of my future meetings from just about anywhere on the planet, online or offline, with just my ultrabook...

That is my productivity goal for meetings in 2017.

IT / Business