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Paul R. Portney

Paul R. Portney

Paul R. Portney is Dean of the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, where he also holds the Halle Chair in Leadership.

No Telepresence Substitute

Fewer meetings, yes -- enthusiastically, emphatically yes! No meetings at all? Not going to happen. And shouldn't.

No matter how electronically well connected an organization is, nor how good "telepresence" technology becomes, there will always be a need for occasional meetings. Leaders can convey a sense of urgency, frustration, pride or compassion in a face-to-face meeting that simply cannot be communicated by memo, letter or e-mail. And no telepresence technology, however good, can enable a leader immediately after a meeting to take aside a few key individuals, look them in the eye and tell them what he needs from them or is prepared to do for them. Such brief interactions make all the difference in the world.

Most leaders, myself surely included, too easily yield to the "let's meet to talk about it" temptation. But it's hard to envision a meeting-less organization of any sort that can remain well-focused and effective, or perhaps even enjoyable to work for. But don't remind me I said this--especially during my next meeting!

By Paul R. Portney

 |  October 7, 2009; 5:32 AM ET
Category:  Accomplishing Goals Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: A Bad Rap | Next: The Joy of Meetings

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