Pilita Clark: lateness at meetings must be banished

准时是种美德
时间:2018-03-12 单词数:7070

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导读:准时是一种被忽视的美德。办公室里最普遍的不准时就是会议到点儿了不开。最好的解决办法就是少开会吗?关于“准时”这一话题,英国《金融时报》 皮利塔.克拉克写下此文,与你分享他的看法。

准时是种美德
_最新英语新闻

A friend and I were chatting after work a few months ago when I mentioned my devotion to Ocado, the online grocery delivery service.

几个月前,我和朋友下班后聊天,我无意中说起我是在线食杂商品配送服务Ocado的忠实用户。

“No!” she shrieked. “You have to stop using it. Haven’t you read about Tim Steiner’s divorce?” I ignored her. I had seen that Mr Steiner, Ocado’s chief executive, had left the mother of his four children and taken up with a Polish model many years his junior.

“别啊!”她尖叫道,“你必须停止用Ocado。你难道没看到蒂姆.斯坦纳(Tim Steiner)离婚的新闻吗?”我没理她的话。我看到新闻说Ocado的首席执行官斯坦纳离开了与他育有四个孩子的妻子,和比他小很多岁的波兰模特好了。

But as far as I was concerned, other people’s marriages were a foreign country and Ocado was the only source of my favourite pumpkin soup. More crucially, in all the years I had used it, its delivery drivers had never once been late. If they even suspected a delay, I would get a text explaining why and by how many minutes. In a world of lateness, it was a rare, glittering star.

但对于我来说,其他人的婚姻跟我八竿子打不着,而Ocado是唯一能买到我心爱的南瓜汤的地方。更重要的是,在我使用Ocado的这么多年里,送货司机从来没迟到过。如果司机觉得自己可能会迟到,我就会收到一条信息,解释迟到原因和迟到多长时间。在一个不准时如此普遍的世界里,Ocado是一股清流。

But I am sticking with Ocado, and not just because of the soup. Regardless of Mr Steiner, the company treats me with respect. By showing up on time, it behaves as if my time is valuable. It seems to understand a great truth of modern life, namely that punctuality is an under-rated virtue.

但我还是坚持用Ocado,不仅是因为南瓜汤。不管斯坦纳怎样,这家公司始终尊重我。它的配送员总是准时送货,让我感觉我的时间是宝贵的。该公司似乎懂得关于现代生活的一个重要事实:准时是一种被忽视的美德。

Nowhere is this more evident than at work, where opportunities to be late are endless. It starts from the time of arrival but is worst in that grim office mainstay, the meeting. It is thought that at least 37m meetings are held each day in the US alone and up to 45 per cent of them probably start late, says Steven Rogelberg, a US professor who has studied meeting lateness.

这一点在工作中最为明显,这里有的是机会不准时。首先是抵达时间上,但不准时的重灾区还是办公室生活的严肃主角——开会。研究会议不准时的美国教授史蒂文.罗杰尔伯格(Steven Rogelberg)表示,据信,仅美国每天就至少要开3700万个会,其中多达45%的会议没有准时开始。

He is close to publishing research indicating lateness is not just annoying, rude or a sign of job dissatisfaction but affects the quality of a gathering itself. A meeting starting up to five minutes late can still be productive but this changes once the wait gets close to 10 minutes and people start to display what Prof Rogelberg calls “negative socio-emotional” behaviour. In other words, they get increasingly hacked off and start criticising, interrupting or whispering to a neighbour.

他即将发表研究报告证明,不准时不仅烦人、无礼、表明当事人对工作不满,而且会影响会议本身的质量。如果会议晚开始不超过5分钟,这个会议还有产生成效的可能,但当延后时间达到近10分钟,人们就会开始表现出罗杰尔伯格教授所说的“负面社交情绪”行为。换句话说,与会者会越来越恼火,开始口出怨言、打断发言者或者跟身边人窃窃私语。

I was slightly unsettled by this since I have been guilty on all counts myself, mainly because I never wanted to go to the meeting in the first place.

我感到有点忐忑,因为这些事情我本人全都干过,主要是由于我从一开始就不想开会。

It turns out that one reason meetings start late is simply that they are held back-to-back, without enough time for people to take breaks in between. When Larry Page became Google’s chief executive again in 2011, one of the first things he did was cut hour-long meetings to 50 minutes. Some experts now swear by the 50:25 rule: keep hour-long meetings to 50 minutes and half-hour ones to 25.

事实证明,会议不能准时开始的其中一个原因就是会议一场接一场地开,中间没有留出足够的休息时间。当拉里.佩奇(Larry Page)在2011年再次成为谷歌(Google)首席执行官时,他首先做的就是把一小时的会议缩短至50分钟。如今一些专家信奉50、25原则:把1小时的会议限制在50分钟内,把半小时的会议限制在25分钟内。

Still, if I had to make a list of solutions to the late meeting problem, I would start with a ban on pointless ones. One of the joys of working for a daily newspaper is that meetings rarely drag on. Deadline pressures require them to have a clear purpose, like deciding what to put in the paper next day or on the website in the next hour.

不过,如果让我列出一些方案来解决会议延迟开始的问题的话,我会首先禁止开毫无意义的会议。在日报工作的其中一个好处就是会议很少没完没了。截稿时间的压力要求开会必须有明确的目的,比如决定在明天的报纸中放入哪些内容或下个小时在网站上刊出哪些内容。

At the FT, a lot of these decisions are taken at a 9.30am news meeting. I went to one last week. It started at 9.32am and 15 people took just 27 minutes to talk about what had happened the day before and what should happen that day. Then it ended.

在英国《金融时报》,很多此类决定是在每天早上9点半的新闻早会上做出的。我不久前参加了一次新闻早会。9:32开始,15个人参加,只花了27分钟讨论前一天的热点事件和当天会发生的事件。然后就结束了。

I am also a fan of standing meetings, having once had a boss who brought them in for a weekly meeting. The discomfort forced people to stop blathering and encouraged early arrivals, all hoping to speak first and make a speedy getaway.

我也喜欢开站会,我以前有一个老板让大家站着开周会。站着开会的不适感迫使人们不说废话并且鼓励人们早到,所有人都希望先发言然后迅速逃走。

Finally, I would ban a major cause of bad meetings, and therefore potential lateness: pointless participants. There is no easier way to make a discussion irrelevant and dull. This requires tact. When Steve Jobs was running Apple he was about to start a meeting when he spotted a woman he did not know and asked: “Who are you?” She said she had been invited to discuss a topic on the agenda. Jobs told her she was not needed and, as she began a long walk to the door, he carried on as if nothing had happened. The execution was awful but the principle, I am afraid, is unimpeachable.

最后,我会禁止导致糟糕会议(糟糕会议又可能导致会议不能准时开始)的一个主要原因:不相干的与会者。有不相干的人参加,最容易让讨论变得不知所云又死气沉沉了。这需要技巧。史蒂夫.乔布斯(Steve Jobs)执掌苹果(Apple)时,有一次正准备开会,忽然看到了一名他不认识的女性,就问:“你是谁?”她说她受邀参加此次会议讨论一个话题。乔布斯告诉她没必要在这儿,在她万分尴尬地往门口走时,他继续开会,就好像什么事都没发生过一样。这种做法让人不舒服,但我不得不说,这种原则无可指摘。

来源:爱语吧爱语吧作者:Penny

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