Meetings consume too much of our lives. And, as we’ve discussed before, when you measure the outcome of a meeting with action steps, you realize that many meetings yield…nothing.
The ultimate irony is that the infamous “ team meetings” are most often held in the morning when we are most productive. When a meeting commences, everyone’s process grinds to a halt. Some people claim to get most of their work done every day before noon. While meetings are helpful in getting us on track, the COST of meeting is frequently underestimated. Whenever possible, we should cancel meetings when the agenda is lacking.
But alas, meetings are still necessary. People need to connect and discuss certain issues. One best practice we have observed in the field is calling “standing meetings” – meetings in which people gather and remain standing. The tendency to sit back and reiterate points - commentate rather than content-make - dwindles as people get weak in the knees. Standing meetings become more actionable.
Most impromptu meetings that are called to quickly catch up on a project or discuss a problem can happen in 10 minutes or less. However, when they are scheduled in formal calendar programs, they tend to be set in 30 or 60 minute increments. Why? Just because it is the default calendar setting! Ideally, meetings should just have a start time and end as quickly as they can.
The pundits will cry, “how about meetings that are called to generate buy-in and build culture.” Well, these meetings are important, but their purpose should be transparent. Most often, leaders call meetings out of their own insecurity. If you don’t know what is going on with your team, the easiest and most comforting solution is to call a meeting.
Next time you make the expensive decision to call a meeting, be clear with the purpose and consider making it a standing meeting.