In business, efficiency is often placed on a pedestal and revered as a demigod.  Six sigma could serve as its Franciscan order.  Agile was born of the pursuit of efficiency.  There exists, however, a vast amount of work that lives in the qualitative and communication based setting known as a meeting. It is here that the rudder event occurs.

A rudder is small, yet controls the whole course of the vessel.  In the same way there are often small actions, questions, or comments that control the whole course of a conversation.  Learning to control these events, and guide conversations without having to dominate them is an important form of efficiency.  The length of a conversation is not proportional to the value of its content (I would like to coin this as the McClain Axiom) and nothing exemplifies this more than rudder events.

Imagine if you will a conversation about implementing a new workflow.  Because this will only be of interest to a few in the room, the conversation can definitely list from its destination without much effort.  How can this be prevented?  By keeping a steady hand on the wheel, with timely and direct comments and questions that keep conversations focused.  This does require someone to be monitoring the conversation more than providing content, but in almost every meeting there are those who are there for the purpose of providing direction.  An expert application of rudder events saves time in every meeting, and keeps people engaged.  Saved time equates to efficiency.

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