220 million meetings are held in the U.S. each year. The average professional attends 5.9 meetings per day. Do you feel that you aren’t as effective as you could be because of the number of meetings you “must” attend?
If you do too, then there’s one fear at work we both need to overcome:
Also known as “The Fear Of Missing Out.”
An Early Management Lesson
When I was a GM earlier in my career, a senior executive from HQ visited my facility. I spent most of the morning touring him through the branch, introducing him to the team, and explaining our financials and KPIs.
We wrapped up by lunch, but he stayed for the afternoon to catch up on some other work. Later in the day, he tracked me down.
“I noticed the rest of your management team in a conference room working through a problem. I sat in on the discussion for a bit,” he said. “Why weren’t you there?”
Immediately I felt defensive.
Not knowing how to respond, I reacted with the truth. “I encourage the team to solve problems without me,” I said. “I trust that if they need help…they’ll ask. And if they ask, I help.”
“Now I know why you’re numbers are so good, he said. Keep up the great work.”
If You Can’t Beat It, Replace It
If you’re having trouble overcoming FOMO, replace it with another emotion…
Here are 3 examples of what Trusting looks like:
- Want to be a team player? Look and see if there’s someone else from your team also on the call. Ask and then trust them to take good notes.
- Want to feel informed? Trust that if it’s truly that important, it’ll find its way to you.
- Want to be engaged? Send an engaging response. Let the scheduler know what you’re working on instead and why it matters to the greater good. Trust that they’ll understand.
When you feel FOMO taking hold, Trust is the answer.
FOMO is dangerous because it fools us into thinking just showing up is real work. Sadly no one wins when you’re just attending a meeting in order to check the box, instead of thinking outside it.
If you feel like you need to attend every meeting you get invited to, remember you’re not the only one capable of solving problems. If you (respectfully) decline the meeting to work on another priority, maybe two problems get solved instead of one.
Where on your calendar could a little less FOMO and a little more Trust help you (and maybe a few others) be more effective?