Issue 2: More on Meeting Behaviour, Especially by Partners
It seems poor behaviour in a meeting is a major issue for people working in accounting firms. I raised the issue in a meeting of people from 18 firms and received many comments.
The Meeting Chair Decides the Rules
There was general agreement it is up to the Chair to set the rules for a meeting and to ensure participants adhere to that. In order to determine the rules, the Chair may ask for suggestions from the participants.
It was also agreed issues on the use of notebooks, tablets and mobiles during meetings, depend on the nature of the meeting. If it is a meeting of many people, over more than an hour, it was felt if the Chair agrees, then various devices may be used, quietly.
This means people may be responding to emails during the meeting. They may even be drafting or editing documents. Naturally it excludes making or taking telephone calls.
For those people who prefer to use their notebook or tablet to refer to meeting papers and to take meeting notes, then that seems logical, even in short meetings.
Read the Papers Beforehand
I commented on this previously, it is considered quite rude to not read beforehand any meeting papers. Likewise, if you wish to raise a matter, circulate relevant papers prior to the meeting.
What Senior Executives Say
It was interesting to hear the comments from senior employees, who are not owners of firms. They felt if a meeting ran for less than an hour, then participants should be restricted from checking emails.
Firm owners who subsequently comment on a matter and say they did not know a decision had been made, cause great angst. Senior employees said they would like to be able to respond, “we discussed and agreed it in the executive meeting and if you had listened, instead of continually emailing, you would have heard the decision being made”. Whoops.
What Does It Say if You Are Continually Late?
Another major issue was turning up late to meetings. This was often the same people and was considered quite rude. Also, some felt it was an expression of self-importance. In any case, there is an argument, priority should be given to the management of the firm.
We will move on from behaviour in meetings and start to cover the many other points of bad behaviour and lack of courtesy in accounting firms.
(c) Thea Foster – Added Value Corporation.
Thea has been providing professional practice management and marketing facilitating, presentations, and consulting for over 20 years. Thea’s clients are mainly accounting firms or suppliers of products and services to accounting firms. Please visit www.addedvalue.com.au for further information.
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