Take The Meeting: A Fresh Approach To Time Management

By Peter J. Strauss

As a business owner, you know that your time is your most valuable resource. As a result, you make every effort to control it. You say no to meetings and cut extraneous obligations. You have strategies to help you stay focused, avoiding all distraction and interruption. You have systems in place so that you can diligently—even relentlessly—tackle the items on your to-do list. Yet there still do not seem to be enough hours in the day to get it all done.

What if I told you that there is another way to approach time? Rather than attempting to control it, what if you decide to flow with it? I learned early on that a key to success is being able to adapt to new information as it comes in. Each moment has the potential to provide the gift of new insight and solutions to problems. But in order to benefit from them, you have got to give yourself time to take in the new information, process and integrate it, then develop an action plan. You have to flow with time, not attempt to control it.

You may be thinking, “Sounds great, Peter, but where do I start?”

My suggestion is to start simple. Instead of saying no to demands on your time, start by saying yes. An example of this is taking the meeting. Over the years, I have had to reframe “Taking the Meeting.” Rather than see meetings as a drain on my time, I now view them as invaluable experiences that keep my ear to the ground and, when used wisely, inform and help me shape operations and strategy.

When should you take the meeting? Whenever there is conflict, dissenting opinions, or unease.

A meeting is surely the most expedient method when it comes to conflict resolution and creative problem solving that leads to outcomes of the highest good. Without a meeting, opinions harden, we see problems from a limited vantage point, and we are less open to alternative solutions. An issue that originally appeared to have only two solutions—one right and one wrong—now is open to a whole range of innovative possibilities. And it requires real collective brainpower to get there.

But this is only possible if your communication during the meeting is respectful, nonjudgmental, and open. It is by speaking and listening in this way that you will truly hear all sides of the situation and gain perspective you never before considered.

The new insight might come from your newest employee or your most dissatisfied client. By making the meeting a safe place for them to be heard, they are comfortable being open and honest about the issue, rather than sugar-coating or deflecting what they really mean. Future resentments and frustrations are avoided, chaos is abated, and everyone feels valued and respected. In this way, taking the meeting can save you hours of time and radically change your business and your life.

So, take the meeting, mediate the meeting and come away with wisdom that will help lead yourself and your business forward. In fact, taking the meeting is what led me to owning a captive management firm. I invite you to learn more about that at peterjstrauss.com.


Peter J. Strauss is an attorney, captive manager, speaker and author of The Business Owner’s Definitive Guide to Captive Insurance Companies with ForbesBooks. Learn more at peterjstrauss.com.

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