Another Meeting Hack from Dan Pink

This is not the first Pinkcast that looks at how to make meetings more effective and efficient. In a previous post, I shared the notions of separation, standing, and shrinking.

This is also not the first Pinkcast that involves a squeaking toy as a way to boost productivity. In a previous post, I shared how talking to a rubber ducky could help someone solve a problem.

Well, this week’s Pinkcast sort of meshes these two ideas together to show how the use of a squeaky toy can help keep a meeting on track and save time in the process.

Here’s the Pinkcast:

While I like the lighthearted approach of using such a technique, I see some issues:

  • is a junior staff member really going to start making the chicken squeak while his or her boss is talking?
  • how does a person know that everyone is in agreement with him or her that it is time to move on to something else? what if he or she is the only one that thinks that way? Can someone unsqueak a squeak?
  • I can see it possibly being used for bullying. Someone might start squeaking the chicken every time a certain staff member starts talking.

So I like the clever, humorous approach, but perhaps there need to be some rules concerning its use. Atlassian, the company Dan Pink mentions in his video, does offer a more in-depth look at the use of Helmut, its squeaky chicken, for its meetings.

The last item to note is that Pink indicates that American workers attend 55 million meetings each day.  If just 5 minutes were cut from each of these meetings, that would generate 275 million extra minutes — the equivalent of about 190,000 days — that people could devote to more productive activities.

This is similar to an analogy Steve Jobs used a long-time ago as a way to motivate the Macintosh team to make the new computer boot up five seconds faster:

I think Jobs’s analogy is a little more powerful. Imagine, saving lives by just making computers boot up five seconds faster. If my calculations are correct, this would mean that using the rubber chicken could save 165,000 lives.

I wonder what rubber animal Dan will be using next…

*image from Atlassian

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