“If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be “meetings.” – “Things That It Took Me 50 Years to Learn”
Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize-winning American author and columnist 1947 –
This morning I got up at the crack of dawn – well actually 7am but that is early for those of us who have ‘retired’. The reason for this? I was to attend a meeting of staff of the organization for which my Real Estate friend belongs. I may have told you that in my ‘spare time’ I act as back up for this friend, doing all the behind-the -scenes work that she really doesn’t have either the time or inclination to do.
The meeting was scheduled for 8.45 am so I left home at 8.15am as I don’t really know what the traffic is like at that hour, and true to form, my friend was running late. When we arrived all eyes turned to us and the manager intoned “Welcome”. This is a regular weekly meeting and apparently – how surprising – my friend is always the last to arrive.
Anyway, the meeting got underway and it brought to mind many other meetings I have attended in my long life.
- Meetings with school teachers who told me either that my child was exceeding expectations, meeting the expectations or in some cases “must work harder” and “could do so much better”.
- Meetings of fund-raising committees. These, of course, are volunteers and although in many instances decisions were made as to what would be done and by whom, often the plans went awry. And of course, volunteers cannot be held to the decisions made as can those we employ and pay.
- Meetings of brides, their attendants, grooms, their attendants and mothers and fathers of the happy pair. At one such meeting, we had the father of the bride who had been married three times, attending the meeting with all his wives who all wanted to have a say in what was going on.
- Meetings of architects, builders, plumbers, electricians and sundry other tradespeople on building sites, often in the rain, and sometimes I was asked what I was doing at the meeting and sometimes even ‘should we wait for your boss, dear’. You can imagine how well that question was received by me. Women were quite rare in property development at that time.
- Meetings of the policy committee when I worked for a short time for a quasi-Government Department. By quasi, I mean that some of the funding was from the industry and the rest from Government.
- Meetings of the Building Owners and Managers Association in which I was the only woman and the speakers used to begin by saying “Gentlemen and Judith”. And I was on the committee of this organization as well.
I have sat through presentations on all manner of things; have met people on the committees or at the presentation who have gone on to become well-recognized in their field.
Have you seen the training program “Meetings, Bloody Meetings” by John Cleese? Click here to see the trailer. It’s hilarious.
And finally, a quote from one of my favourite motivational speakers.
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong but not rude. Be kind but not weak. Be bold but not a bully. Be thoughtful but not lazy. Be humble but not timid. Be proud but not arrogant. Have humor but without folly.”
Jim Rohn, 1930 – 2009 American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker.
Jim has now sadly, died but his legacy of the inspiration remains and lives on in those of us who had the opportunity to meet him and to follow his advice.