If you are a CEO, CFO, corporate board member or investor, the article Why Data Breaches Don’t Hurt Stock Prices published on Harvard Business Review by Elena Kvochko and Rajiv Pant may be of interest to you.
The World Economic Forum and its partners have developed and shared a way for organizations to calculate the impact of cyber security threats. The framework, called cyber value-at-risk comes at a time when cyberattacks are increasing in velocity and intensity, and when 90% of companies worldwide recognize they are insufficiently prepared to protect themselves against them.
Download the full report here: Partnering for Cyber Resilience Towards the Quantification of Cyber Threats
I feel honored to have been one of the participants in the development of this. The project is led by Elena Kvochko and team of the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Deliotte and other Forum partners.
The World Economic Forum announced this today at the annual meeting in Davos.
(Source: WEF Press Release: New Framework to Help Companies Calculate Risk of Cyberattacks)
If you are interested in business, technology, and cyber security, you may enjoy my article about why investors should care about cyber security breaches. I co-authored it with Elena Kvochko, a leader in the field of cyber resilience.
Some senior leaders choose to work alongside their teams in cubicles, eschewing private office rooms. New York City’s former mayor Michael Bloomberg is an example. Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is another. Intel’s former CEO Andy Grove is often credited for setting this example.
As I’ve worked at various news media companies, I have been impressed to see editor in chiefs and other senior editors spend most of their working time in cubicles alongside their teams where the action in the newsroom is. They use their offices only when needed for privacy.
Having access to a private office room is useful too, whether you are a manager, maker, or both. So as an experiment, for one day every week, I decided to share my office with my colleagues in the technology team who don’t already have an office.
In the spirit of supporting our makers’ schedules, I’d like to make my office room available on Fridays to anyone in our technology team who does not already work in a private office. Here is how it will work. For any Friday, you can book my office in advance for a 2-hour period of your use. I will not use the room on Fridays. Instead, I will work at various temporarily available locations alongside other tech colleagues.
You can use my office for any productive work for your job. You can write code uninterrupted for 2 hours in a change of environment. You can pair-program with another colleague. You can use the dry-erase white wall in my office to hold a brainstorming workshop with fellow contributors. You can close the door and use the privacy to think of solutions to complex engineering problems in your work. Research indicates that a refreshing temporary change of environment can be helpful for such tasks.
I should also clarify what this is not meant for. If you need to hold a meeting, join a teleconferenceI suggest you continue to book regular meeting rooms. If you’d like to have a social lunch with colleagues, there are other more suitable places in our building. I’m offering my office to you on Fridays for maker’s work: to build software/systems, and to solve engineering problems in a temporary change of scenery.
I plan to run this experiment until at least the end of this year. If we determine that our software engineers and other tech contributors find this experiment productive, or even just enjoy having it as a part of our culture, we will consider continuing it into the next year.
Every time someone calls a meeting, they should consider using this simple template.
[ meeting-invitation-template begins ]
The desired outcome of this meeting is:
- e.g. Come to agreement on solution for issue X
- e.g. Make a decision about Y.
- e.g. Share announcements about topic Z.
- e.g. Continue to grow a good working relationship with each other by socializing in person.
Note: Explain what this meeting is meant to accomplish, instead of providing a description of the meeting. Focus on the desired result of the meeting. A meeting should accomplish one or more of three things:
- Solve problem(s)
- Make decision(s)
- Share knowledgeand agree to act on it and/or make it a practice
- Knowledge, as in: data –leads-to–> information –leads-to–> knowledge –leads-to–> practice
You should come to this meeting because:
- e.g. You are likely to have input into potential solutions for issue X
- e.g. You are one of the folks who has a viewpoint on what decision to make regarding Y.
- e.g. It would benefit you from hearing the announcements in this meeting.
- e.g. This is your opportunity to ask questions about topic Z.
Note: Give the attendees at least one good reason to attend. Sometimes attendees have no idea why they are invited to this meeting. Don’t be seen as a waster of others’ time.
The guidelines for participating in this meeting are:
- e.g. Please come prepared having read the document about ChaosMonkey.
- e.g. Laptops & mobile communication devices are considered contraband during this meeting. If it is critical for you to have a computer during this meeting, bring a desktop computer :-)
Note: Set the expectations of the participations.
[ meeting-invitation-template ends ]
Further Reading & Thoughts:
- A discussion on this template: https://plus.google.com/107443707510532643538/posts/WBov1aLx9QD
- An example staff meeting using this template: https://plus.google.com/107443707510532643538/posts/YuGSUuCh7w8
As much as possible, we should only attend meetings where we are active participants, not mere attendees with nothing to contribute to the defined outcome of the meeting. There are some exceptions to this like training sessions, educational presentations or others where the purpose for attendees is to learn something.
When I receive a meeting request, I often reply with the following text. In fact, I have it saved as a TextExpander macro as a shortcut to typing it.
May I please request the following information in advance of this meeting? It will enable me to prepare, participate and be productive in the meeting.
- What decisions need to be made at this meeting (if any)?
- What problems need to be solved at this meeting (if any)?
- What knowledge is planned to be shared at this meeting? (topics or documents)
Time Management Tip: When you receive an invite for a meeting at work where you believe you may not add much value, reply to the invite with a polite message like:
Thank you for inviting me to this meeting. It seems from the subject, agenda and attendees list that I’m not a required participant for this meeting. If I’m mistaken and my presence is required in this meeting, please accept my apologies and let me know that I should attend.
This is preferable to ignoring the meeting invite or declining without comment that may come across as rude. I have this text also saved as a TextExpander macro.
Discussion about declining meetings: https://plus.google.com/107443707510532643538/posts/inUkYy1Ufg7
Companies should, by default, avoid scheduling meetings that start before 10am or end after 5pm. If an employee comes to the office at 8am on some days, it is often to use the two hours of the morning before meetings to catch up and/or get a head start on the day. Meetings that start before 10am are often harmful overall since they put the attendees in reactive catch up mode for the rest of the day. Similarly, meetings that go on beyond 5pm (or worse, start after 5pm) take away valuable time from employees that they use to absorb information and events of the day, catch up with replying to email and get ready for the next work day.
i.e. Companies should consider any time outside the 10am to 5pm window to be not available for meetings and definitely not any weekly recurring meetings.
Preferably, employees who are ‘makers’ should have one 4-hour continuous block of time each day when they are free from meetings. (‘Makers’ differentiated from ‘Managers’)
If you manage a team, value your team members time and want to improve productivity at your workplace with a simple change, consider implementing the 50/25 Meeting Recommendation that some companies are embracing. You can communicate something like the following to your team:
We deeply value your time, your productivity and your comfort at the workplace. As a part of our initiative to make your workday more productive, less hectic and better manageable, we recommend a 50/25 meeting format. It is simple concept: As much as possible, let us take all our meetings that are 1-hour long and shorten them to 50 minutes. For our meetings that are half-hour long, let us limit them to 25 minutes.
You will find that a 50 minute meeting will accomplish no less than a 60 minute meeting did and a 25 minute meeting will be as productive as a 30 minute one was. In fact, by having clear 50 minute and 25 minute deadlines, our meetings are likely to be better focused, on topic and more attentive. (For example: Since you will have time after the meeting to check email, there is likely to be less temptation to check emails during the meeting itself.)
The extra 10 and 5 minutes will give you valuable time back that could be used for many useful activities: Getting in the frame of mind for the next meeting or task; checking your messages to see if there is something urgent that needs your attention; or simply taking a bio break.
Please note that this not a mandate, but a recommendation. We realize that you may not be able to do this for every meeting. What we ask is that you consider doing this for meetings that you organize or can influence. As a result, we will make our great work culture even better, less stressful and even fun.
Further Reading & Thoughts:
- NYTimes article about Larry Page, Google’s founder and new CEO instituting the same 50/25 meeting recommendation at Google:
- If a meeting accomplishes all its goals in even less than the 50 or 25 minutes, please, by all means end the meeting even sooner.
- We suggest that you do book the full hour or half hour in the calendar even as you implement the above so that others don’t schedule over the “10 minutes left over” in your calendar.
Thank you for considering this,
A discussion about this 50/25 Meeting Format: https://plus.google.com/107443707510532643538/posts/AtYgnmbhtqc
Using smartphones — or worse, laptops — during in-person meetings diminishes productivity, is disrespectful to others and decreases your brainpower. Yes, scientific evidence indicates that multitasking makes people less intelligent.1
When you are doing something unrelated on your phone or laptop in inappropriate situations (e.g. during business meetings), you lose out because you become oblivious to the environment, people, and subtleties around you.
However, there are a few situations where it makes good sense to use a laptop or smartphone during in-person meetings.
- When you are the designated note-taker for this meeting.
- Taking notes on a computer or smartphone saves time, and is more accurate than taking paper notes and digitizing them later.
- Notes on paper can’t be searched easily, pile up as clutter and are less environmentally friendly.
- It is more secure than taking notes on paper that can be forgotten and read by others who should not have access to the information.
- Meeting notes and action items can be automatically saved in real time and shared quickly after the meeting.
- There should be only one person taking notes during a meeting. If it is a negotiation between two opposing sides, then there should be no more than one note-taker per side.
- When you need to quickly look something up that is relevant to the discussion and is either necessary or helpful to the meeting in progress.
- Entering action items that come up during the meeting into your to-do-list so that you can focus on the meeting. This is useful for people who use the GTD system with a tool like OmniFocus.
- Quickly and discreetly asking a question, or sharing an opinion or information over instant message without disturbing others in the meeting.
- The distractions on the device could be managed if the user is disciplined and remains focussed on the meeting, perhaps even using the laptop to participate more actively in the meeting. After all, even a person using pen and paper can be distracted doodling or daydreaming.
- This is the digital age.
Tip: When you bring a laptop to a group meeting or one-on-one meeting, each time respectfully explain to the others beforehand that you will use the laptop for taking notes and recording action items in your to do list only. Inform them that you will be focusing attention on the discussion and that the laptop is simply your digital notepad.
There are also many reasons against using laptops or smartphones during meetings:
- It comes across as disrespectful to some other meeting attendees, especially those with traditional styles of working.
- The laptop screen creates a “wall” between you and the people sitting across you.
- The laptop does make it easy to get distracted into reading your email or other online activities. (A tablet like the iPad that lies flat on the table like a writing pad does not have this problem.)
Tip: At the start of your meeting, announce that if anyone needs to use their phone or laptop, they should step out of the room, use their device outside and return when done. This way, attendees have the freedom and won’t feel constrained.
In most situations, the drawbacks of using a laptop or smartphone during an in-person meeting far outweigh the benefits.
Tip: Provide a mobile phone charging area in your meeting rooms to encourage attendees to put away their mobile phones and participate.
What do you think? Here is link to a related discussion about using laptops, smartphones and other communications devices in meetings.
(Updated: 2014 July 26)
- The High Cost of Multitasking: http://blog.fuze.com/the-high-cost-of-multitasking-infographic/ [↩]