On October 27, Distillery’s Managing Director Anar Babaev visited Stanford University to attend a day-long design thinking workshop on preventing organizational “drag.” The session proved highly insightful and informative, providing Anar with an unprecedented opportunity to share ideas with leaders from some of the world’s most successful businesses. Anar explained, “The most exciting thing about the course — besides the knowledge itself — is the quality of the community that’s attracted by a big name like Stanford University. Being there, understanding that you’re surrounded by some of the most successful entrepreneurs from more than 30 countries, is itself a reward. When you are interacting with that community, exchanging thoughts and observations about the course, the effect of education multiplies several times.” In this photo, Anar is pictured with Stanford’s Robert Sutton, Professor of Management Science and Engineering and Professor of Organizational Behavior, and Hayagreeva Rao, Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources, and attendee George Farkas.
What new insight has Anar brought back with him to Distillery? Among the many ideas, strategies, and leading practices they touched on during the workshop, he was particularly struck by the findings on how much time organizations tend to spend — and sometimes waste — on attending different meetings. According to a 2013 Crossman and Gray study, knowledge workers spend 80-85% of their work time participating in virtual and face-to-face meetings. Anar was compelled to look clearly at how much time he himself spends on meetings and reacting to various requests inside Distillery. As one of his takeaways, he’s now focused on using what he learned at Stanford to find ways to use his own time more efficiently.
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