In the fall of 1982, I went to Japan to meet with both Dr. Ryuji Fukuda and Dr. Shigeo Shingo. I had just started to promote Dr. Shingo’s great “masterpiece” ‘The Study of the Toyota Production System’ and I was producing my first published book ‘Managerial Engineering’ by Dr. Fukuda.
Dr. Fukuda took me to a Meidensha Electric plant outside of Tokyo. Here working in one vast room was around 60 people, desks piled next to each other, both side to side and front to front. Your only privacy was to bend down behind the books piled on your desk. I immediately noticed a group of engineers having a standup meeting around one desk at the end of a row of desks. They were discussing one topic; everyone participated, questioned each other and then after a few minutes went back to their own desks. “Wow,” this is just great. This is the way to run an effective meeting.
Imagine in comparison our meetings:
1. Find a meeting room
2. Get agreement from all members as to the appropriate meeting time and length of the meeting
3. Establish an agenda in advance
4. Walk over to the meeting room
5. Wait for everyone to show up before you start
6. Listen to someone’s lecture and truly find it hard to keep your mind in focus
a. Did you participate?
b. Did you feel the meeting had real value to your work?
c. Do you look forward to those meeting?
1. Signal your team with a buzzer – email – or just shout
2. Tell the urgent need for the meeting
3. Tell who you invited and where, when to meet
4. Open meeting with a stated problem
5. Stick to one topic
6. Get everyone to talk for a few seconds – the shorter the meeting the better
7. Get everyone’s agreement
8. Summarize in a few seconds the key points – agree on future targets
9. Thank everyone
10. Close meeting
Other bloggers participating are:
Bill Waddell at Evolving Excellence
Chuck Frey at Innovation Weblog
Hal Macomber at Reforming Project Management
Joe Ely at Learning about Lean
John Miller at Panta Rei
Mark Graban at Lean Manufacturing Blog
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