waiting for students

The management tip you learned in university (but probably forgot to use)

Christina Bruce|

It’s rare that a business concept really jumps out and strikes me as brilliant. But I came across a management tip in the Harvard Business Review the other day that actually made me stop and say “Why isn’t anybody doing that???” I’m going to use a tip from the world of academia and discuss why you should run your business like a university.

Senior management can be hard to get a hold of sometimes. Managing to schedule a meeting with somebody in senior management is hard enough—doing this quickly is virtually impossible. It’s an understandable predicament really; their presence is required at a lot of meetings, both internal and external. So what if you just need to catch a moment with a particular director? Bounce an idea off them, present a concept, or ask an opinion? Sometimes (short of cornering someone on their way to the bathroom) you’ve got no choice but to wait for an available timeslot.

Take a cue from university professors

As anyone who has ever been to university knows, the only way to catch a professor is during office hours. This is an opportunity for students to sign up for a 10-to-15 minute timeslot (or just show up and cross their fingers) to ask about a lecture, talk about a class, seek help with an assigment, etc. Professors usually designate a short period of time, maybe an hour or two, once or twice a week, to allow for this process to happen.

So why on earth isn’t this more commonplace in a corporate environment? A completely non-scientific poll of my friends and colleagues confirmed suspicions that this is not a widely practiced in Canadian companies. If there was an hour or two a week where senior directors could be caught for 10 minutes, I am pretty sure that the slots would be completely filled every day. Not only that, it could potentially clear up some time in their busy schedules. Plus, it would encourage collaboration between many levels of management, and promote a culture of open communication.

Has anyone ever worked for an organization where office hours with senior management were regularly available? Did you find it effective?

Category: Hiring Advice, Management,