He explained that every day, we allow our co-workers to steal from us.“And I’m talking about something far more valuable than office furniture,” he said. “I’m talking about time. In fact, I believe that we are in the middle of a global epidemic of a terrible new illness known as MAS. The primary symptom is just accepting a meeting invitation the minute it pops up in your calendar.” Meetings are important, right? Collaboration is crucial to the success of any enterprise, and a well-run meeting can yield positive results. However, the way we work makes us miserable. We’re miserable not because the “other guy can’t run a good meeting,” he said, it’s because of MAS – a self-inflicted wound. A couple of years ago, he put a video on YouTube whereby he acted out every terrible conference call you’ve ever been on. According to Grady, some of the biggest companies in the world have asked for his permission to use the video as part of a training process to teach employees how not to run a meeting. Some of the posted comments by viewers have included: “It’s funny because it’s true. Eerily, sadly, depressingly true. It made me laugh until I cried. And cried. And I cried some more.” Another said: “Loved it! You forgot heavy breathing, wind from someone walking, a person picking up another call and hold music playing on the line, and a toilet flush thrown in for good measure.” So what’s the solution? Grady refers to it as No MAS! “A common theme running through all of these comments online is this fundamental belief that we are powerless to do anything other than go to meetings, suffer and live to meet another day,” he said. “But the truth is, we’re not powerless at all. In fact, the cure for MAS is right here in our hands. It’s something that I call No MAS. If I remember my high school Spanish correctly it means something like, ‘Enough already, make it stop’!” No MAS is based on two primary principles:
- When you receive a meeting invitation that’s missing desired information, click the “tentative” button;
- Next, get in touch with the meeting proposer. Tell the proposer that you’re very excited to support his or her work, ask about the goal of the meeting, and find out if (and how) you can be of help in achieving that goal.
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