Sorry, won’t be able to get to it….meetings scheduled all day…
|Manager||1 hour status meeting today at Noon.|
|Staff Member||What is the status meeting about?|
|Manager||We will status on the upcoming status meeting.|
|Staff Member||So we are going to meet to discuss the upcoming meeting?|
|Manager||Yes, we need to align ourselves so we can properly status the team when we go into the next status meeting.|
(Image by [Alchemy Solutions] (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
This conversation has obviously been sensationalized on my end. It sounds like something that may have come from the hit television show “The Office.” Management loves to subject staff to countless meetings. Sometimes, the meetings are actually in regards to planning for other meetings (as noted in the comical conversation above). Obnoxious. Most times though, they are about upcoming projects or to discuss collective thoughts on specific milestones or goals. Bottom line, we are all stuck in too many meetings. If they are inefficient, like many of them are, they suck away precious time that could be better used elsewhere.
Bottom line, we are all stuck in too many meetings.
Think back to your last inter office meeting. Was it a synergistic brain storming session where tasks were demolished off of the “to-do” list? If it was, your organization is doing something right. Most times, meetings offer little more than a time away from the desk to be unproductive. While managers would like to see a collaborative effort on behalf of the entire group, this rarely happens. Instead, you end up with the most extroverted individuals laying down the thought processes and everyone agreeing with little discussion on best practices. Too many staff members join meetings and little to no insight. This is a huge waste of human capital.
In order for management to feel satisfied with the value of a meeting, they often delegate tasks. These tasks are often busy work in nature and do nothing other than bog down the big picture. Excessive meetings literally crush productivity. If you have the right people working within your team, status meetings shouldn’t really be a common occurrence. Work will get accomplished, and the only status needed is an email asking for another project.
- Stop having meetings just to have meetings. This is a simple solution and will pay you and your team back with numerous hours of productivity.
- Put trust back in your team. Allow them to pull the trigger on decisions instead of herding the greater collective together to meet about it.
- Promote a “free-discussion” atmosphere. Instead of waiting for the weekly (or tri-weekly…) status meetings to bring to attention a particular topic, allow staff to freely solution and implement the appropriate measures.
- Set a time frame for every meeting. Nothing is worse than knocking out the list of action items in 20 minutes, then wasting the remaining 40 on meaningless banter. If you have a set 20 minutes to meet, chances are those 20 minutes will be utilized much better.
- Define an agenda and make those attending accountable. Allow meeting participants to add items to the agenda and close it 1 hour prior. If it is not on the agenda, it is not discussed.
- Identify the individuals that actually need to attend the meeting. It is poor staff management to pull away a productive employee only to attend a meeting in which they actually won’t add value. Being a “fly on the wall” is just an excuse to sit in a meeting and surf the web.
- Construct project plans with milestones and key dates. There is no need to meet to ensure completion dates are aligned if the work is actually getting completed. If it is clear that the objectives are not being met, then a meeting is warranted to regroup and re-direct.
(All accolades and credit for this tremendous blog post are for Paul Buckles who is the author and creator of this blog post.)