Too many minds, too many opinions
Bangkok 1st September 2010
One of the things that was proved again over my last two days of lighting design coordination meetings, is that the more people are involved in a meeting the more views and opinions are tabled. Or better still, the smaller the team of “decision” makers in the meeting the more efficient and faster the progress. One of my key requests had been to keep the discussions team as small and relevant as possible so we could cover as much ground as possible. Our (China) clients are chasing like mad for us to issue drawings and technical documentation, but fail to understand the simple sequence of the design process let alone the importance of interdisciplinary coordination. I can’t possibly issue my lighting design concept without having full understanding of the architectural and interior design concept, can I?
My point today is that so often we find ourselves in meetings with too many people and because they are in the meeting they feel they need to say something to make themselves look important. But the result is that we get too many opinions, irrelevant or trivial questions or comments which most of the time delay the discussions and set us back rather then move forward. A classic situation in Asia is when the big boss is in a meeting with 4 or 5 of his subordinates. They start asking questions in order of hierarchy, first the most junior one then the next up till the boss, sometimes the other way around…. even better sometimes the boss comes in later and we have to go through the same sequence again.
One of the great challenges in our job is to manage our meetings. Most clients have no respect for our time and request your presence in meetings regardless whether the subject is relevant to you or not. In contrast these last two days have been highly enjoyable, extremely satisfactory and productive, just the lead design consultant and ourselves. Talking to like-minded people who speak the same design language brings out the best in all of us.