Talking

T

I think a lot of our problems, in the world and in our own lives, are because we choose to write rather than talk.
By “write” I mean, email, text, post or tweet to make a point…and then wait for the reply email, text, post or tweet.
Logically this back and forth should work. And practically it doesn’t.
Two recent meetings come to mind.
One was a few weeks with some of the PGB team – I mentioned this briefly in a post last month- and one was last week with the management team and a facilitator, Misha Glouberman, who will be facilitating a day-long offsite meeting for us in July.
Going into both meetings, I didn’t expect to really learn anything different. I wouldn’t have tried to predict the specific outcomes but did I think my mind would really be changed or my eyes opened? No.
As I wrote in the subsequent post, I came out of the team meeting with an entirely different perspective on our Woodbine store opening and the impact it had on some of our bakers.
In the management team meeting, it wasn’t quite as dramatic but still interesting. At the start of the 90 minute meeting, Misha suggested that maybe we’d like to spend half the day on team communication and the rest of the time on our future expansion. We all sort of nodded, that seemed to make sense.
But then as we discussed what exactly we’d like to change about our communication (not too much as it turned out) and the impact of expansion (significant problems if we don’t address some operational issues first), we realized the percentages needed to change. In the end we decided to spend about 15% of our time on communication (Misha is an expert so it seemed smart to take advantage of his expertise), a small amount of time on the 3-year vision, and most of the day on making our current business run more efficiently such as implementing a more automated way to take inventory.
It often feels like meeting in person or setting up a phone call will be such a waste of time. Sending emails or texts back and forth can be so tempting: so much time and effort saved.  It’s true that meetings can be overdone: on the weekend Andrew was looking at all the meetings in his weekly schedule that are reoccurring (i.e. a weekly meeting with each of Janet, Isla, Will, Mike and 10 others from now until 2029). Those types of “updates” can become stale very fast. But talking live about an important topic? Hard to imagine when that is not time well spent.

About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean is the president of Toronto's best cupcake and cake bakery - Prairie Girl Bakery. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock

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