Meetings, meetings, meetings…
…We all know we either organise them or attend them more than we should.
A recent Microsoft Office survey listed the top three time wasters in business as:
Ineffective meetings closely followed by unclear objectives and a lack of team communication. Executives interviewed also noted that over 67% of meetings are a complete failure with little or no outcome.
Coming from the corporate world and working across a plethora of corporates, the challenge is definitely real. In a past article, I wrote about the opportunity cost of running a meeting, and this is something we need to be mindful of.
The biggest challenge I see across the board is that people are time-poor and the value of time is one of the biggest priorities on my clients' agendas.Meetings take up time so need to add value to whomever is attending. Click To Tweet
Meetings can also become what I call “slinky meetings”. Yes, we all remember that toy that was literally a giant spring and could climb down the stairs all by itself…fascinating. Well, a meeting like a slinky simply goes around and around, and 6 months later it’s like deja vu, and you may still be talking about what needs to be done.
Working closely with leaders, who are usually time poor, we have actioned a few of the below strategies to get your time back and make it count in the process of growing others.
What is the intention of the meeting? If you are the organiser and cannot verbalise the “why” and outcome top of mind, then don’t move forward with the meeting.
I’m invited to several meetings internally in companies, and they often get stuck when I ask what the intention is of the meeting. Meetings can become fillers; they deviously make us feel productive, so make sure you are valuing the time of others with a good intention.
How often are you invited to a meeting when you really don’t need to be there?
How often do you send your team when it’s not really necessary. Stop and question who needs to attend and why. Could one person go and come back and share any insights at a full team meeting or via email? Add up the hours and cost of those attending a meeting and think about the financial cost and the cost of time. Would you do this if this was your own business? Being strategically agile and understanding and working across divisions is important, but meetings aren’t always the way to do this. Think outside the box.
Change the Chair
Many leaders I work with say up to 70% of their time is spent in meetings. When we work through who else could chair/run these, the results are profound. Not only does this empower others, it allows you, as the leader, to work on what really matters and create future leaders in the process.
- Nominate a new chair at your next meeting
- Give them the “what” but not the “how” to run the next one
- At the conclusion of the meeting they run, they choose the next chair
- This keeps everyone on their toes and empowers the group
Lose the word “meeting”
The word meeting has become so general. I always encourage my clients to name the catch-up or session based on the outcome. To give you an example a Sales Manager was running a weekly “meeting” called you guessed it…. “weekly meeting”. He ended up changing it to “Creative Sales Catch Up” as the meeting was supposed to be about ways for each person to achieve their number but had become a time to whinge and just update each other on where each person was sitting against their numbers. The psychology in words is powerful, and a simple reframe in an invite title and agenda can evoke curiousness and a more open mind.
Theme the Session
Having different themes can result in a loaded focus where needed. For example, if you are looking to future pace the team and generate new ideas, you could have a session themed “Innovation” or “Creativity”. I sometimes work with clients who use a big word like “Leading” or “Vulnerability” to set the scene for the session. Remember people only buy into change or new thinking if there is something in it for them so always brief them in on the “why” to ensure buy-in and contribution.
As always I'd love to hear your thoughts and other ways you shake up meetings.
Lead to be Limitless
If this article has resonated with you in any way – I’d love to hear your thoughts – get in touch. Being in service to my clients is why I do what I do, and your feedback, insight, and suggestions are always embraced.
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