How Not to Run a Meeting—or a Business
One reason I got out of the corporate environment is that I cannot stand meetings. I am efficient at a computer keyboard, not in a roomful of people.
My wife, Peggy—now publisher of six magazines, a line of business books and online products, and proprietor of a trade show—is a master at running a tight meeting. Business gets done; people get out on time.
Somebody suggested that all meetings should be held in a room with no chairs—no place to sit. When people are forced to stand, agendas are completed with amazing alacrity.
If you think corporate meetings are basically time wasters, take a look at the American organization that holds 140 full-dress meetings a year that are attended by 535 of the most incompetent, blathering, posturing self-promoters on the planet.
I am talking, of course, about the United States Congress.
What can businesses learn from the failure of federal legislators?
The Dismal Job Ratings of Congress
Stockholders of corporations are generally happy with management when sales and net revenues increase and the price of their shares goes up. Good corporate performance equals high marks for management.
Visit the Web site devoted to measuring the job rating of Congress (http://www.pollingreport.com/CongJob.htm) and you will find that the figures for July 2006 range from a 25 percent approval (FOX/Opinion Dynamics) to 27 percent (AP-Ipsos) and 28 percent (CBS/New York Times).
What’s more, according to all 13 polling organizations the job approval numbers of Congress have been going down—entirely in the red—since September 2005.
If stockholder confidence in a corporation had reached these lows, it would mean the stock was tanking and corporate raiders like Carl Icahn and T. Boone Pickens, Jr. would start circling the corpse.
For Congress, the equivalent of a corporate raider is called a voter. With mid-term elections just four months off, members of Congress are scared out of their collective wits.