Death by Meeting is the title of a great little book by Patrick Lencioni. LeaderTribe fans know that Lencioni is one of the best writers ever when it comes to building a healthy workplace—the kind of job that you can’t wait to go to in the mornings. But most meetings kill.
Can you believe that executives spend an average of 23 hours a week stuck in meetings? These same gatherings that could include creative brainstorming, collaboration, and decision making, get thrown into the toilet of inefficiency, personal blabbering, and more rabbit trails than Alice in Wonderland. When meetings turn into “time and energy sucks," life goes downhill quickly.
In the Harvard Business Review article (linked above), 182 senior managers in different industries were polled. 71% said their meetings were unproductive and inefficient.
Do you know who’s famous for holding great meetings? Steve Jobs! Not always comfortable, but always to the point. It ends up that the secret to Steve Jobs’ successful meetings revolved around three things:
1. Keep the meeting as small as possible.
When Jobs was about to start a meeting, he saw someone who he felt was not needed in the meeting, so he asked her to leave. Nothing personal, just work! The fewer people there are, the less complications. Do not invite anyone who is not instrumental.
2. The important agenda was “what’s next?”
Every meeting ended with a list of next steps, and every item gets assigned to one person. That person is then in charge of making it happen. Talk about accountability! Jobs calls that person the DRI (directly responsible individual).
3. No fancy presentations!
Steve Jobs believed in the power of face to face communication. He doesn’t like formal presentations because he feels like people tend to hide behind them. He loves discussions and communications. For Jobs, a person who knows what he or she is talking about doesn’t need a presentation.
So here’s the challenge for you: Keep your meetings less than 30 minutes!
The Bottom Line: Meetings can be awesome! BUT that doesn’t happen accidentally. If managed properly, you’ll look forward to your meetings and you’ll get more done afterwards.
Have a great meeting!
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