Many executives, particularly in larger organizations, spend 80 percent or more of their time in meetings.
All of that valuable time is highly effective only when used substantively. That means to brainstorm, pitch, discuss, debate, problem solve and/or decide something important to the majority of participants, relying on the capabilities and experience in the room.
Yet much more often we accept and walk into meetings assuming we are expected to update or share something, or to sit and be updated. Hundreds of meetings per year, all with self-limited dumbed-down outcome potential: simple information exchange.
Through our actions and inaction, every minute we are holding or attending meetings-as-updates can be subtracted from higher yield outcomes, like getting things done. Multiply that by the hourly rates of the people in the room, and you realize we are not only dealing with limited outcomes, we are actively investing in them.
Here’s What You Can Do
Notice the pattern or habit in your group / organization / company about “updates”—is that the typical reason for a meeting, or what’s done IN meetings? Is it frequent or rare?
Next, look through your calendar for the next four weeks and circle any meetings that are likely to be primarily about giving (or receiving) updates.
Take one example, and eliminate the meeting in a polite and descriptive way, and instead, request or share update-related information virtually first, and getting any questions answered in a similar way (via informal conversations, email, document or intranet sharing, IM, text, etc.)
It may take a while, but eventually you will replace the “update” meetings, or content in meetings, with more effective patterns of doing substantive things with group time, thereby honoring yourself and your colleagues.
Let me know how it goes.
The Recovering Leader