I love the comments I get about communication. Some people comment – yes it is important to know who you are talking to, but others ponder the need to understand. Today’s picture is of the communication structure of a car, the gauges. When the engine temperature is too high, you run the risk of the engine overheating and stopping. Oil that it too hot burns up and you end up with less oil overall. The gauges are the car talking to you. Hey, you are going to fast. Hey, turn left here. Hey, I am too hot. Hey, I need gas. Communication is critical when your driving, boating or for that matter flying an airplane.
Can you imagine a pilot, getting on the plane’s intercom and saying “well folks we are going to make an unplanned landing, we forgot the check the old fuel gauge before we took off.” Kicking the tires and checking the fuel gauge of your meeting is critical as well. There is a component of this process I haven’t talked about yet. That is the reality of toxic combinations. What is a toxic combination? Ah, that is a sad tale at the very least. Toxic combinations are two patterns that don’t work well together or for that matter at all. Or Anti-patterns that clash with each other. The bad news is the reality of who.
Who includes you, if you know for example that you don’t do well with Project Pirates, then it behooves you to not invite people with that anti-pattern to critical meetings. If you do, and they well pirate your meeting, the resulting frustration is your problem, not theirs. They are acting as expected. There are ways, however, to reduce the project pirate to a shadow, by planning every minute of the meeting and sticking to it. Start the meeting one minute early. Make sure there are no seats at the table so that latecomers have to sit on the sides of the meeting. Create a parking lot section of the whiteboard or a sheet of paper, The minute the pirate attempts the arrrggh let’s talk about something else, put that topic into the parking lot. Planning meetings is as critical as hosting the meeting.