Small Changes: Synchronizing department meetings

“People are afraid of big changes, but usually embrace little changes. The best thing about little changes is they add up to one big one” (Simon Sinek).

This also corresponds to my experience. Under the slogan “small changes”, I would therefore like to share in this, and in following articles, some ideas that allow for improvements in the classical organizational environment. Those experiments also encourage you for more of this kind.

Synchronization of department meetings

In larger organizations, departments hold regular, but separate, department meetings. Sometimes this happens (also) at the group level. For interdisciplinary projects, it is therefore usually very difficult to find appointment dates in which all project team members can participate because everybody in the project team belongs to a differnet group.

Since each employee usually belongs to only one department and one group, it is no problem to schedule these appointments at the same time. In one of my last mandates, we were able to purify the calendars of employees and managers by about 20%. However, a clear statement from the top management had to be made and most of the meetings had to be re-scheduled. We also scheduled a fixed date, to switch over to the new meeting sequence.

Organization Cadence

Thinking this concept to an end will result in an organization-wide cadence for all types of recurring meetings. Finally, it looks like a school timetable, but it has many benefits:

  • All appointments can be scheduled months in advance.
  • Everyone who should attend a meeting has time.
  • Skillful staggering of appointments creates a workflow that makes decisions faster and more effective.

However, creating such an organization-wide cadence is no trifle but promotes understanding and cooperation throughout the organization.

In another organization, we did exactly that and changed all appointments in this way. The effects were terrific:

  • No more parallel dates (but also, no excuses)
  • Time for important but not urgent topics
  • Much more time for interdisciplinary collaboration through white spaces in all calendars

Have success and fun with my “small change”! More is coming soon …

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