I’m observing a trend of “too many meetings” happening. Again.
It’s a slow creep. And then, suddenly, the calendar has become your boss. It can crush a culture of collaboration.
Meetings are an essential part of doing business. Meetings enable collaboration, help build relationships and inspire creativity. That being said, it’s common knowledge that too many meetings will suffocate morale and cripple productivity.
Unfortunately, the pandemic created a new reality where in-person meetings have been almost entirely replaced by virtual meetings … one meeting after another, back-to-back, all day long. Remote working does not require travel across town or even down the hall, so why not?
This raises the question… How many is too many? And are “too many” meetings killing innovation? If there is an excess of jawboning and no time for doing, your organization may be in trouble.
Some numbers from Harvard Business Review:
– 90% of employees consider meetings costly and unproductive
– 70% of all meetings prevent employees from completing their tasks
– While there was a 20% decrease in length of meetings during the pandemic, the average number of meetings increased an average of 13.5%
There are two types of meetings:
– To educate.
This is where the organizer needs to share relevant data with an audience. This generally requires no preparation by the attendee (PRO TIP: these can sometimes be replaced by utilizing technology – like loom short for videos)
– To motivate action.
This is where the organizer focuses on action or decision. Brainstorming meetings are great ways to create pathways toward building consensus and stimulating action. Team-building meetings are sometimes a good step before a brainstorming meeting. (PRO TIP: Every meeting, especially meetings to motivate actions, should have an agenda circulated to the participants prior to gathering)
If you hear people leaving a meeting saying “Great! Now I can finally get some work done!” you have a problem.
Here are some things you can do to improve 2023:
1) Make an agenda mandatory, re-evaluate recurring meetings. This type of meeting was probably created for a specific purpose, but they tend to lose relevance over time.
2) Make attendance optional. Can a video or email replace someone’s attendance in person? Determine your role in the meeting and unless you are a critical participant and your input is required, you should not be required to attend.
3) Reserve “meeting-free” time. No meetings after 3 PM? Meeting-free Mondays? Imagine the productive time you will gain back if you block time for yourself.
Why let your calendar be your boss? Take control of your most important asset – TIME!
The best workplaces anticipate and encourage the best, most productive use of everyone’s time.
The best leaders reserve time to lead.
If you need a quick assessment of your organization’s potential for a calendar crisis, let me know. I’ve been there and I can help.