Achieving results by 'putting the fear of a meeting' into people
I work in the systems department of a large company. I've encountered an interesting trend in my workplace lately and I wonder if others who work in a similar situation have encountered anything similar at one point or another.
Once in a while our testing environments break because of unexpected configuration changes and I have to engage analysts from other areas to find out what's going on and fix it. Usually it starts with an e-mail or a request (in our service-management tool). The request often bounces around to several groups before ending up back where it started and the problem still exists.
At this point, I'm often pretty frustrated. I absolutely hate tracking down environment problems and getting the right people to take ownership. But I think I've found the secret weapon to these situations. I threaten to schedule working meetings with everyone who has touched the request and anyone else who could hold the key to the answer.
The moment I do that a flurry of work starts to happen. Deeper analysis and research starts to happen. E-mails and IMs go flying as people start working desperately to avoid a meeting. The vast majority of the time the problem is fixed without a meeting but in the end the people spend hours resolving the problem from their desks using e-mail and IM. If they had all gotten together in a conference room they most likely would have resolved it in under an hour.
People simply don't want to meet face-to-face even when the problem would be solved in less time with less effort.
Has anyone else noticed this behavior in their corporate cultures?