Are you Helping to Waste $37 Billion?

September 15, 2015

11:00 am

There is a problem with a project? Have a meeting.

We need to brainstorm new ideas? Meeting.

We need to give feedback for employees? 1 on 1 meetings with everyone.

We need to decide what brand of coffee should be in the office? That’s right, we need a meeting.

With all those meetings, not much time is left for actual work.

We have all sat in those long pointless meetings from which we leave only with a sense of a wasted time.

You sit there listening to something you don’t need to know and don’t care abut with only one thought in your mind: when will it end so that I could actually, maybe, get something useful done.

And you are not alone. In the US, there are 11 million formal business meetings and it costs companies $37 billion each year.

The main loss here is time for employees to work. David Grady compares pointless meetings with coworkers stealing from each other as every moment spent in meeting rooms is time not spent on something else.

Great leaders of our time have all known that too many meetings are bad for any company and they found ways to fight them: Steve Jobs used to ask the least important person in the room to leave and Donald Rumsfeld held standup meetings.

Alternatives

The time you spend on scheduling meetings is far better spent on thinking how to improve the everyday flow of information within your company.

Constant sharing of ideas is far better for engagement, creativity and motivation as people get a clearer understanding on where they fit in the company’s inner gear system.

Ongoing communication is also good for CEOs and management. As Tom Zirpoli wrote: “One of the biggest challenges managers of multi-layered operations have is maintaining an understanding of what is going on in the field. The only way this may be accomplished is with ongoing communication with staff on all levels (management by walking around).“

Instead of meetings, ongoing communication can and should be achieved with technological solutions. The amount of different startups and companies who have come out with services that help with everyday communications is mindboggling.

If you have to

Unfortunately some meetings are still necessary. There are a few criteria you can check to make sure whether you need a meeting

So, if you still feel that you need a meeting make sure it’s as short as possible.

  • Make sure everyone who comes has a reason for being there (and they know that reason);
  • have a strict agenda (10 minutes per topic);
  • use a meeting timer and set an end time;
  • make sure everyone gets a summary after the meeting.

The bottom line is, ongoing communications and constant flow of information are a lot better than ongoing meetings and constant meetings. If you don’t want to be one of those people who wastes company’s money then remember: less is more.

Image Credit: Flickr/Steve Koukoulas

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Alexander Maasik is a communication specialist and content creator at Weekdone - weekly employee progress reports. Alexander has a degree in journalism and public relations and a strong passion for communications and online collaboration.

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