There’s a snippy article in the Harvard Business Review that begins:
We were recently working with a company in Amsterdam, and having difficulty getting a summer meeting scheduled because of the number of executives who were on vacation. Experiencing some frustration, we began to wonder how this company actually got its work done.
But their VP of HR assured us, “I am confident that because of the rest and break from work that our European executives get more accomplished in their working days than those in the U.S. who burn themselves out.”
Harvard Business Review then says “this seemed worthy of some research” but you have to read it as Challenge Accepted.
After that, it gets a bit muddy. Are you more productive if you have time off? The best way to summarise the findings is in that wonderful Simpsons quote: “Short answer yes with an if; long answer no with a but”.
Read the full piece by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman (HBR 17 June 2015) to see them throw statistics in your face and then try to play it both ways.
That’s a harsh headline since I’m really just setting you up for its sequel, The Worthy and Best Way to Present which follows in a thrice. But I was reading this form the Harvard Business Review:
Addressing the individuals concerns of stakeholders in the room will go a long way toward winning you allies. “If the finance person frets about keeping expenses under control, discuss expense numbers,” says [Raymond] Sheen [author of the HBR Guide to Building Your Business Case]. “If you have someone who is interested in growth in Asia, show how your project helps the company grow in the region.” Research past presentations and the outcomes to make sure you have your bases covered. If there are “issues that other projects have had, you should have an answer for those,” says Sheen. You might also consider giving decision makers a preview of your presentation ahead of time, and asking for their input. You can then salt their recommendations into your presentation, which will increase their investment in your success. “When you let people feel like they co-created your content, then they’ll not only support you but then they’ll feel empowered as ambassadors,” says Duarte. “They’ll feel like they’re representing their own idea.”
The Right Way to Present Your Business Case – Carolyn O’Hara, Harvard Business Review (21 July 2014)
And, sorry, O’Hara, but my mind wandered very quickly there.
The whole piece is a bit dry but its advice is solid, if ironic: reach out to people more, communicate more and avoid being a bit dry.