Steve Jobs had very effective meeting guidelines. He had some simple rules to make sure time would not be wasted. First of all, he made sure that only the people who had to be present were there. Secondly, he made sure someone was responsible for every item on the agenda.
With just these two tricks, he managed to save a lot of time and money. These principles are core to Weekdone. Weekdone's status reporting tools have been built with meeting guidelines in mind with the hope to make them as short and effective as possible. One of our customers, Lyle Stevens, co-founder and CEO of Mavrck uses "Weekdone reports to help set an agenda for the weekly meeting to make it a streamlined meeting."
What is the problem with meetings?
Meetings can be dull and uninspiring without specific meeting guidelines. The worst meetings are the ones where you spend your time staring off into space and feel your energy drain out of you. While some meetings may leave you mentally drained, meetings are an important way to make big decisions and get an understanding about what is going on with various teams and the company.
But still meetings need to be kept short and sweet, does anyone like attending long meetings?
Despite this, I've worked in teams where leaders and managers spend almost all of their time in meetings. Never have I seen them being happy about it, yet very few of them have ever tried to change the practice. It is taken as a norm. And this norm is expensive in many ways. Everyone knows, unproductive meetings cost companies millions of dollars a year. The true cost however is the loss of motivation and job satisfaction as you sit through another pointless powerpoint presentation.
Running inefficient meetings with people who don't have to be there is demoralizing and costs companies a lot of many each year. No wonder Steve Jobs and other great leaders have such strict rules about meetings: they are not in the business of losing money.
Ineffective meetings and how to avoid them
Turning inefficient meetings into productive ones is not hard. It just requires a little more planning than sending out a Google invite to your entire team.
The most common cause of ineffective meetings is a lack of having effective meeting guidelines. If you have a problem you need to solve or a topic you need to discuss, it's very easy to just get everyone into the room and go at it. But what exactly will happen in the room? Should everyone even be there? These are the questions most managers fail to address. And that results in people sitting through pointless meetings instead of accomplishing impactful tasks that achieve your team's goals.
Effective meetings and where to find them?
For meetings at Weekdone, we have a very simple policy: have as short of a meeting as humanly possible and hold them as infrequently as possible. This lets both managers and employees spend more of their time on impactful tasks. What is more, it encourages people to solve their problems themselves and gives them accountability for their actions.
When setting up effective meeting guidelines, we go through a checklist. We answer these questions. And if the answer to any of them is "no", something has to be changed.
- Will the meeting bring me new information I can't get any other way?
- Have I written down an agenda?
- Have I included only the people who have impact on the agenda?
- Is there any new information for everyone else?
If you answer "no" to any of those questions, you:
- don't need a meeting as it provides no value;
- haven't thought through the agenda and therefore the meeting will be ineffective
- have invited the wrong people.
Weekdone's weekly status update tools help you create effective meeting guidelines by making sure most of the information you need in your everyday work is available to you 24/7. With Weekdone you can avoid wasting time on ineffective meetings as well. Like Steve Jobs, you can make sure your time is not wasted. Try out Weekdone with your team right now.