Millions of dollars of time are invested in meetings. Bad meetings mean lots of wasted money. Bad meetings mean diminished morale. Is this problem worse than email domination? I'm not sure but it's up there on the list of things that ruin people's work day.
It's seldom that I review my consulting work with you. Today is one of those rare days. That's because this is a vivid situation that I'd like to share with you and explore over a number of articles here. I'm passionate about stopping waste and especially passionate about stopping waste of such a limited and precious resource as time.
Let's start with the characteristics of bad meetings. There are lots of them. Here are my top 5:
- No agenda
- An agenda that isn't followed
- Starting late and running late
- One person dominating the meeting
- Making everyone hear material again while a latecomer is briefed
- Lack of follow-through (I know, this is #6 but I couldn't pick any to leave off)
What's on your list?
Here's the calculation. This organization has between 6,000 and 7,000 employees. If we can save each one from a badly-run one-hour meeting once a week the savings for the company is in the range of $2,750,000 per year. If we can save them from two one-hour meetings, well, this is an urgently needed improvement.
Going beyond the value of the time saved will be increased productivity. While people are out of meetings they'll actually be getting their work done. And, not having to prepare for wasteful meeting frees up even more time and lightens the workload burden.
And best of all, these employees will be happier. Happy employees mean productive employees. Morale will get a boost when employees feel heard, feel like they're contributing, and determine their time is applied satisfactorily (rather than wasted in some meetings).
It's curious that well run, well prepared meetings seem to be the exception rather than the rule. How is it in the company where you work? Comment below so we can start talking about this meeting culture.