See if this sounds familiar. A team member has an idea and floats it to one other person. Look out! A meeting is about to be called. A team begins to gather in a conference room. The markers are out, the white board is in use somewhere else, and six valuable team members are out of the office. All over the world, this phenomenon takes place without hardly a second thought.
No One Speaks Up
As the meeting drags on and valuable time is wasted, people are shifting in their chairs. No one ever speaks up and asks, “Why are we in here?” No one dares to say, “We need to get back to work.” This is a meeting, and it must continue.
The Scenario Is Far Too Common
This scenario is actually more common than you can imagine and plays itself out thousands of times a day in offices all over the globe. It’s not segregated to any one group or particular size of organization. It is not specific to an industry or sector.
Hidden Activity-Based Cost
It has migrated into business culture and has become deeply rooted in far too many cultures. The financial ramifications of this hidden activity-based cost are astronomical. They drain resources and in many instances, delay people from completing important mission-critical items and actions.
Donuts and More Donuts
Hey, look at the bright side. Someone usually does bring the donuts; and there’s always an interesting story or two and maybe even a joke worth remembering. Does any of this justify the meeting? Does any of this justify the brain drain and time waste that this phenomena creates? The answer is: no, it does not!
Let’s Explore More
You may say, “This idea and subsequent meeting are on the verge of becoming a project!” Yes, a long project-based thinking session and collaborative idea gathering. Think of the infinite possibilities: more time away from the real work, more hours invested in an idea that may not in any way support our true purpose, more hours expended and more intellectual capacity wasted as another brain drain is put on the calendar.
Stop the Madness
Am I saying all meetings are bad and a waste of time? No, but far too many meetings fall into this category. It’s a senseless approach to our goals in a world that only gives each of us so much time and yet demands more and more from us with tighter timelines and heightened expectations attached. We can find a better solution. We can stop driving people crazy and let them accomplish things.
Create a Process by Asking the Hard Questions:
- How do meetings currently get scheduled?
- Are there any timelines set on meeting times?
- Who decides who attends?
- Is the meeting purpose clarified before the meeting occurs?
- Are the meetings pre-planned so preparation can take place to improve meeting efficiency and results?
- Has anyone verified that the idea has potential and will in some way fit into our organization’s mission and vision?
- Is this a meeting called just for “meeting’s sake”?
Discuss these questions among senior leaders, and examine your current meeting process. Ask the hard questions you haven’t asked. Face the truth those answers provide, and stop this drain of your people’s valuable time.
And for goodness sake, bring the donuts! Make sure they’re fresh because we need something positive to come out of the meeting about the meetings.
Facts to Ponder:
- An estimated $37 billion is wasted annually on nonproductive meetings.
- There are 25 million meetings held daily just in the United States.
- An estimated 18% of an organization’s collective time is spent in meetings.
- 10% of middle managers’ time is spent preparing for weekly staff meetings.
- Middle and upper management spends between 33% and 50% of their time in meetings.
- 67% of all meetings have been deemed as nonproductive.
I hope I have reached inside your brain in some way and shaken you up enough to shift your thinking about meetings within your organization.
Make a difference today.
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Copyright 2016: Paul Cummings Enterprises.