How often have you entered a meeting wondering why everyone was being brought together for an hour? How many times have you left the meeting wondering the same thing?
Did it ever occur to you that people may be wondering the same thing when they enter and exit a meeting that you have held?
I’ve tried to make it a practice to ask myself the following question on a regular basis: “Why are we here?”
Why will we be here?
Before I plan a meeting, I ask, “Why will we be there?” It helps me define the purpose of the meeting, who needs to be there and what topics to cover. It helps me determine what questions I want to ask in a meeting.
Why am I here?
When I hold a one-on-one meeting with someone on my team, I ask the same question for each of us: Why am I here? Why is she here? I may even ask it of the other person at the beginning of the meeting.
At the end of the day, when I put together my to-do list for the next day, I ask myself: When I sit down to start the day tomorrow, why will I be here?
Why are we here?
Much of consulting is project based. When I start a new project, it’s helpful to ask myself and every person on the project, why we are here? I try to cover Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for this question. Certainly, we need that paycheck to put food on the table and shoes on our children. I’ll try to work my way up the basic needs list through the need for friendship and interaction. Hopefully, we begin answering the question from the upper parts of that hierarchy. Perhaps we will see that the result of the project will create a product for the client that will make people’s lives easier and improve their profits.
It never hurts to remind your team members that in addition to putting food on the table, you might be helping to do the same and perhaps a lot more for others.
So next time you plan a meeting, a day, a project, or anything else, ask yourself: “Why are we here?” Better yet, ask your fellow teammates. It may give some interesting insights and direction to your team and to yourself.
If you would like to learn more about working in consulting, get Lew’s book Consulting 101: 101 Tips for Success in Consulting at Amazon.com
Why are you here?
As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms.