The dreaded M-word. No one really wants to go to meetings: A bunch of people droning on about targets and metrics, goals and actions, grinding axes and scoring points. (What’s that trusim? What to make sure nothing gets done? Have a meeting.)
But what about when it’s just you and your solopreneur business? How can you have meetings when there’s no one else to meet with?
You likely have things that are just as dull and dry called “weekly reviews.” Maybe you look forward to them when you’re in full-on Venkman mode, in the swing of your personal business, but in the beginning, when going into business for yourself sounds hella cool but looks pants-packingly scary (like a green slimy ghost charging down the hallway of an upscale New York hotel hotel at you), why would you want to spend time with yourself admitting how much you sucked in the last week and setting up all new ways for yourself to suck next week?
Well, what if I could told you you could invite others to your meeting – awesome others – and still have it be just you?
Employing your Dream Office Team
I’ve known about this idea of having a Weekly Review since I read about it in David Allen’s Getting Things Done. Yet it’s been something that I’ve never really done well, if at all. I tend to put it off, or schedule it at a time when I really ought to be doing other things.
Kicking off the 5AM Challenge helped in terms of making time, but I usually found myself concentrating on other things than reviewing and organising (mostly writing).
Then a while back, I joined a meeting of folks who are working the whole own-biz thing for a Google Hangout. , The topic was timely: How do you get things done when it’s just you?
I can’t remember exactly who said what, but someone suggested the idea of having a morning meeting of all your separate roles once a week. The convenor of the meeting, Catherine Caine, mentioned making each job’s title as fun as possible, giving the job an awesome name that makes you want to do it.
That started something, but I’d tried brainstorming Awesome Job Names before and it hadn’t quite worked.
Then someone else suggested having a character in the position of each position you’ve got. I immediately reached for my toy Optimus Prime (the Voyager-class Classics version in the feature image, if you’re curious), held it before the camera and said, “Here’s my CEO.”
A few days later, I decided to try the whole morning meeting thing out – and I parcelled the jobs to the coolest robots or robot suits I knew. Next thing I know, Optimus Prime, Jazz, Bumblebee and a little-known combiner from the mid-eighties Generation One days named Computron were hanging out with Alto Saotome in his VF-25F Messiah from Macross Frontier and the clone of Ellen Ripley from Alien Resurrection in her Aliens powerloader.
I’ve had four meetings so far. In the one before last, I made a staff change – Jazz moved from Production Manager to Creative Director, and I brought Gipsy Danger and its pilots, Raleigh Becket and Mako Mori, from Pacific Rim on board as the new Production Managers.
Bringing Excitement to the Everyday
I’d turned probably the most dull part of the process – a review of what I’d done and what I needed to do this week – into probably the most fun bit of the whole process. I actually look forward to my Monday morning meetings now, because I’ve got the opportunity to imagine a huge room filled with the coolest giant robots I know, all helping me do something I’ve never done before.
And the great bit is, I can talk honestly and review my process with a critical yet gentle eye, because there’s at least one voice of wisdom – the great Optimus Prime (and of course I hear his voice as that of Peter Cullen) – to remind anyone who gets upset or strident at failures or lack of progress that no one is perfect, that the only true way to learn anything is to make a mistake and correct it, and that everything worthwhile takes time.
Sometimes, that’s the outcome you really need the most from your meetings.
Are you curious?
What are the dull parts of your business day? What things do you do to make them more enjoyable?
Are you keen?
What characters would you populate the senior management roles in your one-person business team with?