How a Boiling Cuppa Joe Solved a Problem

Meeting with busy people is tough. You just need a couple of minutes.  Either to run an idea by a colleague to get feedback or perhaps to get quick supervisor approval on an aspect of a project before you can move on. Trouble is, the person you need to meet with is either wildly busy, frequently out of the office or due to the nature of their job, moves about the office so much that catching him is a challenge.

Not getting that time can be disappointing or frustrating – and can also affect your ability to get things done. There must be a way to deal with this problem. Of course there is. Me waste your time? Never.

One option is to set up regular twice-a-day, 8-minute meetings with this busy colleague. Collect all of your questions/discussion points in a folder and then cover them all at once.  That works in the right situation, but often you don’t need regular daily meetings and holding the questions even for half a day would slow down progress to an unacceptable level.

Here’s another option…

Recently I met with Tim Rodgers of Rodgers/Townsend. Jill Kramer – evidently a person with a keen power of observation – came up with a great solution.  They’re in the creative business and so count on a lot of internal collaboration – often involving Tim.  But he fits the description of being in a lot of places throughout the day, so can be difficult to catch. But there’s one place where people have a good chance of finding him.  At the microwave.  See, Tim likes his coffee HOT. Some might say scalding – so he visits the microwave regularly to give it a zap.  Thanks to Jill, people in the office are now alert to this and can get that one or two minutes they need while Tim is waiting for his boiling beverage. And everyone is productive.

Here’s how to make this work for you.

Identify the person in your office who you need to interact with several times a day. Have a quick chat with that person. (You may have to schedule it this time.) Tell them the story about Rodgers/Townsend and how they make it work in their office and figure out what solution works for you.  It’s an important step to have this conversation so you don’t end up an inadvertent stalker, constantly showing up in this person’s space without warning. Which would be as creepy as Juan Valdez suddenly appearing in your kitchen.  With his burro.

Useful? There's more where that came from.

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