Many traditional organisations love meetings. And for the most part, I’m not sure why. A majority of meetings are exercises in futility where nothing truly productive gets done. In the TV show The Officemeetings are used as an ongoing joke where branch manager Michael Scott calls them for every arbitrary reason he can conjure.
Sadly, this isn’t too far off from reality. Even if the subjects of meetings in the real world aren’t as comical, the actual levels of productivity are. The solution to this problem is simple: have fewer meetings and make the ones you do have efficient.
The obvious reasons to have fewer meetings include the fact that they monopolize the time of your group and eat into hours where real productive work gets done. Everyone knows that. But meetings can actually be worse than that for reasons most don’t even consider.
Before I offer a few ways to make meetings more efficient, let’s run through some less-considered reasons to cut down on meetings in the first place:
Excessive meetings frustrate your A-list, ultra-productive employees
Meetings may be doing more harm than the surface issue of wasting your team’s time. As if that isn’t bad enough, meetings may actively be frustrating your A-list employees. This frustration harms their productivity and also causes them to look at leaders as the type who don’t really understand their passion. Even worse, if your organisation engages in frequent meetings without a real function, you may suffer attrition of your smartest team members. They may simply not want to waste their talents listening to management teams talking to hear their own voice. The A-list wants to change things for the better, not sit around hearing lectures.
For a majority of decision-making, having meeting is absurd
To be competitive in digital marketing, your team needs to be empowered and agile enough to make most decisions on their own after initial planning phases. If you can’t trust your team members to do this, it’s time to get a new team. If you’re low on the organisational hierarchy but know what you’re doing just start making decisions on your own – always ask forgiveness, not permission. The truth is any company worth working for rewards risk, even if you fail. Failure is always an option, and organisations who don’t embrace this for their marketing won’t have a prayer to compete digitally. If you have to have a meeting before making even tiny decisions – get out, now. There are better places to work.
Meetings actually make you appear like an ageing organisation
By having excessive meetings to get things done you’re telling a different story to investors, clients or partners vs. doing something like organizing the group in a project management system to structure the flow of work. Remember, all your actions define how your organisation is perceived.
Excessive meetings are a sign you have the wrong team
This isn’t really in the “reasons to stop having meetings category” but it’s something to think about. If you have to constantly meet with your team on issues you may have the wrong team. Especially if those meetings are constantly to train existing team members on things the rest of your team (and/or the rest of the industry) just gets. You should have a team that’s interested in keeping their marketing/PR skills razor sharp because it is something they have a passion for. Don’t tell me this is “pie in the sky,” that’s the answer of someone who refuses to realize their organisation may require radical changes.
Meetings, in many cases, spawn busy work
Due to the unproductive nature of meetings, many managers will feel a need to assign multiple tasks to team members during the meeting so they feel like something productive comes from the meeting. But these off the cuff tasks and ideas are usually not well fleshed out or thoughtfully considered. They are usually just busy work stemming from the fact that people aren’t meeting for a productive reason in the first place. This isn’t always the case but can be with the wrong management team.
I”d be interested in find out what are some of your methods used to reduce meetings?