Working Lunches for results

There is too much pressure of work and everyone is running from pillar to post to perform well, professionally. There are deliverables to be made, deadlines to be met and businesses to be done and that too, all at the same time. This fast paced work environment has cut down on most things at the workplace. And one major element amongst these is the regular meetings that used to be held. The era of long meetings in conference rooms that would continue for hours, today, is long gone. Now, most organizations are coming up with some innovation ideas to conduct meetings. One such new initiative is of having meetings lunches and his, is becoming quite popular trend in most organizations. Meetings over lunches are not only meant for meeting up with business associates, but also are an excellent platform that helps facilitate increased interaction and even new recruits.

Lunch meetings = Productive meetings

There can be meaning to a lunch meeting in a corporate environment. The first is when you meet business associates for lunch another type of a lunch meeting is the wring lunch wherein you gather together. A task force in a conference room and bring in food and the third is when you meet up a prospective employee to understand and know him / her better. There can be several reasons for such a meeting. It could be for a discussion of a specific project, since almost managers have more on their plate than they can handle; it makes sense to take advantage of the lunch time to keep working. The second reason could be for bonding or team building. You manage people, not machines or processes. You need to spend time with your direct reports to build professional relationships with them. The third reason could be for brainstorming. Sometimes changing your environment gives your creativity a boost and allows you and your lunch guest to come up with a solution to a problem that had eluded you back at work. Fourthly, these lunch meetings can be for job interviews. For both internal and external job candidates, going out to lunch often produces a better interview.

Meeting over lunches is a regular phenomenon at GLF Pramerica Life Insurance. In fact, they recently conducted a working lunch for our marketing team. Partner agencies were invited and the objective was to come up with innovative marketing ideas for 2010. The meeting proved to be an excellent tool to bring the team together for the completion of the agenda without any pressure. More often than not, changing one’s environment gives creativity and allows one to come up with novel solutions. Look at meetings over lunches or even coffee as investments – like a timely email or a phone call made to business associates or stakeholder. It is true that one ends up putting in two hours of work day but in my opinions it is completely justified and well worth the time spent.

Lunch meetings are catching on in today’s scenario, especially while recruiting candidates for managerial / senior positions. It is expected to know the person formally as well as informally. Meetings over lunches give you adequate time to interact with the candidate; one gets more personalized and gauges more insight about the candidate’s current and previous jobs and there is always an opportunity to discuss things beyond regular format interviews.

Good food = Good outcome

In this fast paced work environment how do these meetings over lunches prove beneficial? Between employees working lunches prove to be a much welcome break from their work. They can catch up with colleagues outside work, share thoughts, discuss common professional issues, jointly arrive at solutions, etc. On a one to one level, employees can discuss personal matters with each other in confidence and at a team level, having employees out of the office for an hour over a meal is an effective bonding exercise, especially if it involves celebration involving the team. Otherwise too, good food in a great setting appeals to the foodie in each of us. In addition, company meetings held outside the office premises can be great motivational tools. An off site meeting always works as a way to revitalize and reenergize employees and in rebuilding team spirit. It is often the best way to generate fresh ideas and build enthusiasm and a renewed commitment to company goals. Usual corporate meetings are quite formal in nature. Meetings over lunches give comfort and space to the person at the other side of table. One starts sharing his / her views, personal liking and speaks as much as possible within comfort zone; this also helps understand compatibility skills and fitment to opportunities abilities of the candidate.

If organized in the right manner, these lunch meetings prove to be highly effective, both for the organization and employees. The senior leader leaves the meeting having done his / her job a little better by including another important group of stakeholders. The employee goes away feeling much better about the company and its leadership and in a mood to share that positive feeling with those around him or her.