Your mind is made up or you ‟ ve already made the decision. Keeping these points in mind, a planner should call a meeting (or appoint a committee) only when the following questions can be answered “yes.”16 Is the Job beyond the Capacity of One Person? A job might be too much for one person to handle for two reasons: First, it might call for more information than any single person possesses. For example, the job of improving health conditions in a food-processing plant would probably require the medical background of a health professional, the experience of employees, and a manager who knows the resources. Part Four Working in Groups Effective Meetings Chapter 9 Second, a job might take more time than one person has available. For instance, even if one employee were capable of writing and publishing an employee handbook, it ‟ s unlikely that the person would be able to handle the task and have much time for other duties. Are Individuals’ Tasks Interdependent? Each member at a committee meeting should have a different role. If each member ‟ s share of the task can be completed without input from other members, it ‟ s better to have the members co-acting under the supervision of a manager. Consider the job of preparing the employee handbook that we just mentioned. If each person on the handbook team is responsible for a separate section, there is little need for the group to meet frequently to discuss the task. There are times when people who do the same job can profit by sharing ideas in a group. Members of the handbook team, for example, might get new ideas about how the book could be made better from talking to one another. Similarly, sales representatives, industrial designers, physicians, or attorneys who work independently might profit by exchanging experiences and ideas. This is part of the purpose of professional conventions. Also, many companies schedule quarterly or annual meetings of people who do similar but independent work. While this may seem to contradict the requirement for interdependence of members ‟ tasks, there is no real conflict. A group of people who do the same kind of work can often improve their individual performance through meetings by performing some of the complementary functional roles. For example, one colleague might serve as reality tester. (“Writing individual notes to each potential customer in your territory sounds like a good idea, but do you really have time to do that?”) Another might take the job of being information giver. (“You know, there ‟ s a printer just outside Boston who can do large jobs like that just as well as your regular printer, but he ‟ s cheaper. Cal me, and I ‟ ll give you the name and address.”) Others serve as diagnosers. (“Have you checked the feed mechanism? Sometimes a problem there can throw the whole machine out of whack.”) Some can just serve as empathic listeners. (“Yeah, I know. It ‟ s tough to get people who can do that kind of work right.”) Is there More than One Decision or Solution? Questions that have only one right answer
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