I Cancelled the Meeting

I'm walking down the hallway this morning with absolutely nothing to do. If you didn't know better you might even mistake me for a Disney executive. There are tables of snacks and coffee in the hallway and all of the meeting rooms are full. That's pretty much the way it goes in today's world. People are either on their way back from a meeting or rushing to a new one. Back in the old days we didn't have daily meetings. Heck! We didn't even have weekly or monthly meetings. When the Old Maestro, Walt Disney wanted to be updated on things - it was only then we had a meeting.

Unlike the rest of my colleagues, I'm able to freely roam the hallways and observe the business at hand. What I find most remarkable today is people spend so much time talking about things that need to be done. Back in the days of Disney long past - we didn't talk about it - we simply did it. I'll provide an example. Had you been walking down the hallway of the Animation Building in the fifties or the sixties you would have seen dozens of artists huddled over their drawing boards. Upstairs on the second and third floors of the Animation Building you'd see story artists hashing over a sequence in the large story rooms. What you probably wouldn't see would be a group of people sitting around a conference table engaged in endless conversation.

Some years ago, I remember an executive who held staff meetings in a large room without chairs. No one needed to get comfortable because the meeting would never last more than a few minutes. What had to be said never took longer than five or ten minutes. I'll bet today's workers could easily stretch that ten minute meeting to at least an hour or more. It's become a way of life and today it's viewed as quite normal. Further, people are serious about their meetings. In fact, an employee proves their worth by the number of meetings they attend.

Of course, it remains a puzzlement. How the heck did this company thrive for decades without all those meetings? How did we manage to accomplish so much without a bunch of managers sitting around a table and talking endlessly? The answer is obvious. Back in the old days, people actually did the work or they were not going to remain employed. Today, you can earn a pretty good salary by doing pretty much what I do everyday. And, I don't do anything.

 

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