Simple, but not easy

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Some simple skills I think are underrated in today’s world of work:

  • Planning effective meetings
  • Facilitating effective meetings
  • Capturing actions cleanly, and following up
  • Structuring communication clearly and effectively

These things don’t get talked about much, but when you work with someone who does them well it can be literally a life-changer, and so refreshing. And there is a real prize to play for here in terms of efficiency and productivity. Many meetings are a waste of time, unfocused and badly run. It’s not rocket science, but why is it so hard – like many behavioral things I guess the answer is: because the solution is simple, but not easy.

That is to say anyone can easily grasp what it is that needs to be done, but it requires change at the behavioral habit level, discipline or self-control to make it happen, which is often the hardest thing in the world.

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There was lots of talk in Davos this year #wef19 about the adaptions needed for future of work in world of AI & automation – and rightly so, but when you look at the amount of work time routinely wasted by simple things like inefficiently-run meetings and poorly structured communications perhaps we need to focus for now less on the robot hype and more on some of these underrated skills? It cuts a bit against the grain, and less fashionable, but I think the basics are important – and after all they are something we can control and address today before we start second guessing the future, focusing on robots and automation.

There’s a deeper theme here though, in fact many behavioural challenges fall into the “simple but not easy” category: losing weight for instance, and dare I say it, investing for the long term.

What challenges are you wrestling with that fall into simple but not easy?


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