Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The politics of meeting

It's all about work at the moment. Which makes it hard to write about, given the Blogging Policy. But I have noticed an interesting form of power-play recently.
You get a meeting invite. Before you accept it, you check your calendar, only to find that you have not one, but two meetings in that slot already. So you send a reschedule request. Here, you have a choice. You can choose a time that you know you are available, or you can take the time to check the other person's calendar and choose a time that you know you are both available.
But they didn't take the time to do that before they sent the invite, so by doing it you are saying 'I acknowledge that your time is more important than mine'.
You never get these kinds of invites from people who are more junior than you. They will have taken the time to check your calendar, so that you are more likely to accept their invite rather than just decline it. And you never get them from very senior people, as they have PAs. PAs will check your calendar, and won't schedule a clash unless they have made a judgement that the thing already in your calendar can probably be moved quite easily. And they usually say that on the invite.
No, it's the people who are about as senior as you are who usually do this. And they are usually men. The women will usually ring you up and say 'we should meet, when are you free?', and you each look at your own calendar and suggest a time.
For a while, I adopted a policy of just accepting every invite without checking my calendar, choosing to have faith in all my colleagues. That was a disaster, but I haven't found a strategy I like better yet. There are certain situations where it's important not to give ground. More on this to follow.
joella

2 Comments:

Blogger Monkey Mosaic said...

I remember visiting a hospital school in Salford with a job many years ago. They suffered, as all hospital schools did, from being an education service in a health environment. The headteacher told me she told all her staff to *always* say they were busy at the time medical staff asked for a meeting (even, or should that be especially, consultants) in order to establish the fact that they were professionals with an equally important job to do. It was the best hospital school I ever visited, and I did a mapping exercise across the UK with a 100% return rate...

12:52 am  
Blogger Jo said...

Interesting. Most meetings are totally pointless, so maybe they were on to something there.

8:55 pm  

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