I read a terrific HBR blog post today, “Stop People From Wasting Your Time” where author Dorie Clark provides suggestions to help you help others make the most of something very valuable: time.
One of the first suggestions is to communicate how you like to communicate. I like email. A colleague prefers phone calls. Another prefers text. Let people know what you prefer. They sound like simple steps, but then so does having a healthy snack when you really want to dip into the Halloween candy, and discipline is the name of the game here. Is your time worth it?
#1: Force others to prepare. First, require an agenda for meetings and get clarity around the ask. In other words, what do you want to discuss (the agenda) and what do you need me to do (the ask).
#2: Give them time to prepare. Here I’m suggesting that you avoid being instant gratification. If the request arrives on a Friday, schedule the meeting for early the next week. And ask for the agenda & “ask” to be communicated to you 24 hours before the meeting.
1 + 2 = 3
#3: When you care enough to implement #1 and #2, others find their own insights, ideas and solutions. Does it get any better than that?