Dotpoint 1: I have discovered that Twitter can be useful, professionally. Reading Havi Brooks’s post over at The Fluent Self I changed my mind about Twitter. Havi has debunked a few Twitter myths in this post, but for me the best one related to that little Twittering question: What are you doing right now?
Havi points out (like a true anthropologist) that this question needs to be interpreted, its meanings divested and rendered plain for all to see. What this question is asking us is not to give a literal answer –as in we’re eating pizza or drinking coffee on the bus – rather it’s asking us to reply to: What are you thinking? as in what are you really thinking or feeling inside your brainbox right now? Thus, it becomes: my pizza is a work of art. (Ok, tonight we had pizza and it did look like a work of art). Or: why do we really need to have three hour Executive Management meetings?
Searching around, there are numerous posts (this one is very good) from numerous people explaining how to Twitter for business. Clearly, marketing your services or products is one way to use Twitter for business. For, me as a professional working for a small government statutory authority, though, Twitter is possibly less useful in this manner.
That said, Twitter is ever so useful for making professional connections and for asking for help for problems. Like the one in Dotpoint 3 below. Which leads me to Dotpoint 2…
Dotpoint 2: There are Twibes on Twitter! Yes, that’s right: Twibes. I dare any self-respecting social anthropologist to resist the urge to join a Twibe and undertake participant observation. Twibes are like instantaneous Facebook groups (or friends) and connect you with hundreds of others instantly. The benefits for professional networking and problem solving are endless.
Dotpoint 3: Three-hour Meetings. Help!!
The setting: every Tuesday, half of my day (and that of other managers in my organisation) disappears into a 3 hour-long phone hook-up meeting. We sit in two offices separated by 1500 km, and talk our way through a 12+ page spreadsheet of major organisational projects and issues. I should add, that in a week, I also have several other phone hook-up meetings of this type, though none are as long.
The method: The 12+ page spreadsheet is read thru in a linear fashion, with those whose initials are against a particular item updating the rest of the group on progress.
The problem: Three hours is a huge chunk out of my working week. It’s largely non-productive: i.e. just updating an ever-expanding list when I could spend three hours doing work, including items on the list. It’s also extremely boring, especially when you’re sitting at a table by yourself just listening for all that time.
Because of the physical separation of the offices (Darwin & Alice Springs), and the need to steer the organisation, we need to meet regularly. When you’re separated by distance, there just isn’t the chance for those hallway and informal office conversations that contain so much of an organisation’s life. But there MUST MUST MUST be a better way to run management group meetings – and to tame the ever expanding list of items!! It needs to be strategic, but also responsive to new issues that inevitably arise. If anyone has any ideas about ho to tame this monster that I can take to my CEO (who is also frustrated by this problem), they would be greatly appreciated.
Dotpoint 4: My own yoga practice. Is simple, not a marathon, and adapts to my present self, every day. I’ve taken on board the suggestions with the shoulderstand – yes, it’s going to remain the piked Saytananda-style shoulder stand for the time being and I am going to refuse to use the straps that freak me out in Iyengar. So far, so good.
Re: Dotpoint 3. I’ve been in a similar situation before, and the solution is quite simple. Everyone must read the updated spreadsheet before the meeting to familiarise themselves with everyone else’s stuff. The meeting is then only a Q & A – if someone doesn’t understand something or if there’s a really important issue affecting everyone. No one gets to speak longer than 15 minutes (even that might be too long). And, the meeting becomes about things that can be discussed in actionable terms – what needs doing and by whom, for issues that can’t be resolved by everyone reading the spreadsheet in their own time (and much more quickly).
Dunno if that will work for you guys, hard to say… but its definitely worked for us as an organisation (where I used to work) before.
Another approach is giving everyone the opportunity to have their say for 5 minutes, but they can pass if they choose to. Many people do.
Meetings suck the life blood out of people and workplaces, and the large corporate I used to work at had a half-hour meeting policy on the whole. As in, only ever book a meeting for half an hour unless its really required. Worked wonders. 🙂
Oh, yeah. Definitely skip the straps in sarvangasana if they freak you out. I once had the biggest panic moment when a teacher tried to tie me up. Ugh.
Liked reading about my post through the anthropological filter. Excellent.
What’s your Twitter name?
@Svasti I think that might be part of the solutions – to have everyone read the spreadsheet beforehand. I’m also questioning why we have a spreadsheet 15 pgs long. Why don’t some of these things disappear? It’s got longer in the 6 months or so I’ve been going to these meetings. Grr!
@Havi -Thank you for visiting my little blog. My Twitter name is Amanda467