Why I cancelled my sprintly manager meeting

Giuliana Taylor
January 6, 2021

… and started meeting weekly instead.

(gotchia 😉)

Some people enjoy small talk. Some of my closest friends are small-talkers. I have nothing against the small-talkers. I just am totally incapable and – if I’m being honest – a little socially inept since all this quarantining started.

Meetings with my manager were always dangerously close to small-talk. In order to avoid all of the “hey, how’s your kids?” and the “how was your weekend?” I came prepared to my sprintly, manager meeting with a list of topics I’d like to cover, and ideally a problem that needs solving.

And if I didn’t have a problem, I’d bring up something a little contrived, or already solved. 😬

What should I have done? Cancel the meeting? Probably. Seems like the natural solution. A good idea, even.

BUT…

The opposite of a good idea, can also be a good idea.
– Rory Sutherland, Alchemy

So, what do I do with a meeting I’m finding decreasingly useful?

DOUBLE IT.

Yes, instead of meeting with my manager once every two weeks, I now meet with him every week, and I’ve realized some things…

  1. I won’t ever go back to sprintly meetings. It’s quite a bit of work to catch someone up on two weeks worth of stuff. It prevented us from trading information low-level enough to actually use.
  2. My manager is my new accountability partner. Each Monday, we take a look at the previous week… specifically
    👉 Stuff I’m doing towards my current professional goal
    👉 Unsolved problems I’m mulling over
    👉 Any ideas in need of some advice
    As we’re discussing these things, my manager hits me with some expert-level “why are you avoiding that?” and “that seems to oppose the goal you set.” Then we’ll scrap, pivot, or evolve the idea in question until it’s something I can act on during the upcoming week.
  3. I’m no longer contriving problems for us to solve. In fact, there’s often so much for us to talk about, I have to schedule a follow up meeting.