Nice To Know Meetings – Michael Dennis, CBF

Nice to Know

Like most managers, credit managers are invited to attend numerous meetings.  A friend of mine works for a company where he routinely spends 15 hours a week in what he calls Nice to Know meetings.  These are not special meetings called to address and resolve particular issues or concerns, and the most painful to attend is a 4 hour long meeting each Monday in which every department manager provides an update relating to their progress relating to plans, processes and problems.

As the name suggests, a Nice to Know meeting is one in which the information being discussed may not be necessary for attendees to perform their work.  The issue that I want to address is how to avoid attending Nice to Know meetings.  The first trick I learned is that when I receive an automated invitation to a meeting, rather than accepting or rejecting, I select the third option… which is to tentatively agree to attend.  This means if I find the subject matter interesting I might attend unless: (a) I get a better offer or (b) a project or a problem requires my attention or (c) I am too busy to attend, or (d) I am just not in the mood to attend.

Another useful tool is to respond to an invitation with a series of questions, such as these:

  • Have you published a meeting agenda?  If not, please send it to me ASAP so that I can decide if my attendance is necessary
  • Will I need to attend the entire meeting, or can I attend a portion of it?
  • What specifically will you need me to share during this meeting?
  • Do you have any objection if I delegate the task of attending to someone else?
  • Is there a dial in?  I ask this question even if the meeting is down the hall.  Why?  Because I prefer to attend by phone so I can get other work done while listening to the meeting with my phone muted

I think you will be pleasantly surprised how easy it is to avoid attending many Nice to Know meetings.  Some of you may be asking if there has been any backlash relating to avoiding Nice to Know meetings.  I think the answer depends on the individual.  If you tend to isolate yourself anyway, or if your department is ostracized to some degree within your company, you probably want to attend some of the Nice to Know meetings.

Michael Dennis, MBA, CBF, LCM

What should you do with the time you save by not attending Nice to Know meetings?  To most credit managers, I would say this:  Try leaving on time once or twice a week.  I think you will find it to be a pleasant experience.  That’s my opinion.  What’s yours?

Michael Dennis’ Covering Credit Commentary. Michael’s website is  www.coveringcredit.com

The opinions presented are those of the author.  The opinions and recommendations do not necessarily reflect the views of CMA, or their Officers and Directors.  Readers are encouraged to evaluate any suggestions or recommendations made, and accept and adopt only those concepts that make sense to them.

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A Balancing Act – Michael Dennis, CBF

Balancing Act

A few years ago, a good friend of mine who worked in the automotive aftermarket industry lost his job as a credit manager as a direct result of his management of bad debt losses and DSO.  More specifically, he was fired because, under his guidance, the credit department had not written off any bad debts for three years.  Sales had complained that the credit decisions being made were far too conservative and way too risk averse.  The company’s senior management eventually looked at the information about losses and concluded that sales management was correct.

Credit decision-making is a balancing act with unexpected and unbudgeted losses on one side and lost sales and lost profits from overly conservative credit risk management decisions on the other side.

Is it common that a credit manager loses their job because they are too risk averse?  I think it is more likely that the opposite is true meaning that credit professionals lose their jobs because they accept too much risk resulting in higher DSO or higher bad debt write offs.

Michael Dennis, MBA, CBF, LCM

However, the fact that my friend was fired is a good reminder that credit professionals are expected to manage credit risk according to their employer’s expectations.  They are not expected or required to eliminate the risk of slow payment or nonpayment.  What do you think?

Michael Dennis’ Covering Credit Commentary. Michael’s website is  www.coveringcredit.com

The opinions presented are those of the author.  The opinions and recommendations do not necessarily reflect the views of CMA, or their Officers and Directors.  Readers are encouraged to evaluate any suggestions or recommendations made, and accept and adopt only those concepts that make sense to them.

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