A few years ago, I was watching the 11 o’clock news. The newscaster introduced the next story:
And now, a story about the evolution of the business lunch. Can we say times two? Many busy executives are now making room in their schedules for two business lunches, back to back. “Oh, my goodness,” I thought to myself, “how could anyone pull that off? How do they get rid of the first lunch guest in time to welcome the second? Do they eat twice? Do they pretend that each lunch is their one and only?”
I sat there with more questions than the reporter covering the story could possibly have had. Were they making this all up, or was it true? I waited through the commercial break to hear the details.
It was true. A new wave had hit. Execs were doubling up the lunch window. Why? Productivity, they said: Lunch meetings are a way of saying thank you to business clients, to subordinates, to coworkers, to your boss, if you want! It’s also a way for two people to lower the tension bar and build a better relationship. And, lest we forget, every now and then some important business is conducted at lunch!
The productivity crush of the 1990s embraced this time-tested tool in the excessive manner that characterized the era: “If one is good, maybe two would be better.”