Have you ever found yourself in a meeting wishing some of the people would take their ideas and go back to their desks? I run a digital creative and social media agency, and I like to think that I take an all-inclusive approach to many of the marketing, creative and business decisions we make within our own company. That’s going to end today.
Social media has taught us that everyone has a voice and many brands, businesses and startups are encouraged to empower their employees to share in the company’s grand vision, participate in defining the voice of the company, create content and even act as the companies’ ambassadors.
Here are 5 reasons you don’t want to invite everyone to the party:
1. CREATIVE CHEMISTRY CAN KILL
The wrong mix in a creative meeting can kill that meeting. In a situation where ideas are flying, an errant look of disapproval or a quick interruption can shoot a fledgling idea right out of the air, and I’ve seen it happen.
Look out for the naysayers as well! They believe they’re just pointing out potential flaws in new ideas, but what they’re really doing is casting themselves as the arbiters of good and bad before it’s really time for anyone to be making these kinds of judgements. Lock that guy in a room until the meeting’s over then show him what you have when the ideas are ready for scrutiny.
2. YOU SPEND VALUABLE ENERGY BEATING BACK THE BAD IDEAS
If you’re like me, you think there’s a place at the table for everyone’s ideas. I’m doing a 180 on that. Explaining to the group why this or that idea doesn’t fit takes energy and reduces focus. Regardless of the group you’ve assembled, there will always be some of this, but being selective about who you invite can limit the energy and focus spent on thinking through, debating and ultimately rejecting certain misguided ideas.
Plus, some people just have really sucky ideas.
3. YOU WASTE TIME IN MEETINGS
Listening to everyone takes time and attention away from the collective goal which should always be to solve a problem. I don’t mean a problem as in something bad, necessarily. I mean like a math problem, an equation that needs to be solved, like how do we reach new customers and make them care about this product or service?
4. THERE ARE DIFFERENT KINDS OF CREATIVITY
OK, there are different kinds of creativity. There’s business creativity and there’s strategic creativity and then there’s the people who can think up funny ideas, paint paintings, make music and invent stuff. Perhaps the most dangerous people in the room are the ones who think they’re creative but really aren’t. These can often be the most vocal in the group and need to be uninvited fast.
5. EVERYONE HAS DIFFERENT AGENDAS
Your VP of Sales may not have the same immediate interests as your Social Media Manager. You may even have existing animosities between different team members. Some may have political reasons for shooting down others’ ideas. Some people may love speaking up with their ideas to show how active and committed they are to the success of the company regardless of whether their ideas are productive, constructive or even on topic. Others may not be very vocal and hang back, deferring to others.
Everyone on your team is smart in different ways. There’s a reason people gravitate to different jobs and different industries. There’s a reason why people like different foods and do different things. So be selective about who you invite to which meeting and stay focused on which problems you’re solving and who’s best suited to solving them.