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Don’t Let The Perception Of Reality Keep You Unbalanced


The company that I work for recently implemented an unofficial policy (maybe recommendation would be a better word) that there should not be any meetings scheduled for Friday afternoons.

In order to help facilitate this initiative, all of the conference rooms were artificially booked after 2:00pm on Fridays to make it a little more inconvenient for those that insist on meeting.

The reasoning behind this plan was to help prevent the late afternoon meetings on a Friday that tend to keep people in the office and away from their family. Rather than sit in meetings on a Friday afternoon, they would prefer to see employees wrapping up their tasks for the week in order to get out of the office at a reasonable time to work on the life side of work life balance.

I mention this policy because the other day I was attending a meeting and a few people were discussing this idea. They commented that while they thought it was a great idea, it does not accurately reflect the reality of doing business and Friday afternoon meetings could not be prevented.

When I heard this comment, I thought that it is not the reality of doing business that requires Friday afternoon meetings but instead it is our perception of reality. The true reality of doing business is what we make it - if we do not schedule meetings, the business will adapt and most likely continue to hum along without missing a beat.

Sure, there might be times where an emergency meeting is necessary. But as anyone that works in an office will likely confirm, the majority of meetings in the corporate world are a waste of time where very few decisions are actually made.

Have you ever experienced this at your place of work?

The perceptions that these people have about Friday afternoon meetings has become their reality. They don’t believe it is possible to do business without having meetings on Friday, therefore their reality is that they will still conduct meetings. Regardless of the fact that the company is encouraging people to avoid meetings - the true reality - the perception of reality is keeping people in the office.

Is your perception of reality keeping you unbalanced?

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    On November 15th, 2007 at 5:48 pm, Wendy Piersall said:

    I [heart] your company! :)

    On November 15th, 2007 at 10:47 pm, Damien said:

    Your company has it right. My teacher’s union has a line that reads “No meetings on Fridays.”

    The “perception of reality” is a little broad for me to comprehend. I think what you are getting at is simply about goals. When you have goals, you set priorities to reach them. If someone has no family and they are driven to be as productive as possible, it makes sense they would have no consternation about meetings on Friday. Heck, there are places youu can go to work out at 2 in the morning for that matter.

    If I may spell out an acronym to sum up this laboriously long comment:


    Set priorities in direction of goals.

    Goal: To be a present dad

    Priority: No meetings on Friday.

    While that is our shared reality, there are many who don’t live in it. You see what I mean?

    Thanks for the article.

    On November 16th, 2007 at 3:22 am, JLow said:

    This becomes a problem when your goals / reality are not in sync with the company’s goals / reality.

    For the company that “recommends” no-Friday-meetings, workers who prefer to work late will find this prohibitive to their reality.

    And vice versa.

    It’s all about finding that cultural fit.

    To answer your first question- Yes! In my organisation, we have way too many meetings. It is when the few true leaders chair these meetings that an action-items list is generated.

    To your second question- Yes! While I agree that achieving that balance between work and home is crucial, if one is already feeling “balanced” at work (alone) then that work itself is no longer challenging!

    On November 16th, 2007 at 2:05 pm, Derek Semmler said:

    @Wendy :: Me too, I am pretty lucky in that my company gives work life balance a good deal of attention.

    @Damien :: You make a great point in that not everyone has the same priorities/goals with regard to work life balance. Thanks for the perspective and also for sharing that great acronym.

    @JLow :: I really love the meetings that are used to schedule additional meetings, lol. Thanks for the additional perspective on goals/reality.

    Mentions on other sites...

    1. Is A Promotion Worth Giving Up Your Flexibility? | Dad Balance on November 16th, 2007 at 1:57 pm

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