Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Meetings Ruin My Day

I go to a lot of meetings.  Many weeks I attend more than thirty of them.  Thirty meetings in one week.  They're all important; some are even mission critical (remember that term?).  But what actually gets done in those endless hours behind closed doors?  Sometimes I'm not sure.  Yes, face-to-face communication is simply the best way to share information, but is it always necessary?  I don't think so, and I now recognize that I need to take action instead of continuing to talk about it.

Fresh Perspective
I've decided to try something new over the next few weeks.  I'm going to attempt to cut my weekly meeting count in half, on average, going forward.  This may take some doing, some delegating, and some hard decision-making on my part to simply turn down meeting requests.  The difficult part of this plan is that I'm not willing to sacrifice the perception of good service to my customers.  Hmm...I hope they're as open to using technology as I am.

Why Such A Big Deal?
As my organization grows, I seem to find myself connecting with more people, in more locations than ever before.  In order to provide the best service possible, I can't be unavailable.

"Simply because someone doesn't work on the same campus as me, does not mean they don't deserve the same level of attention and support.  I need to be available in person, via phone, and electronically in equal parts."

How About You
How have you balanced the crush of requests for meetings with the need to support your other clients across the entire organization?  What worked?  What didn't?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of The Big Link


  1. Great post, Jay, and good on you for taking the Meeting Bull by the horns and trying to make a change. Since I’m in a new company and new role, I have not yet encountered the quicksand of meetings yet, and have the opportunity to proactively make sure it doesn’t happen. We did just implement a Meeting Free Zone on Wednesdays, in an attempt to cut down on the number of group meetings that were unproductive. Individuals can still request one-on-ones with managers, but no group meetings on Wednesdays as they were, culturally, responsible for a big time drain. This is, by no means, the solution, but it’s a shot across the bow. Our next step is concentrated training and reinforcement of having clear agendas for every meeting; even if it’s a single item that needs a decision, having that included with the meeting request ensures that there is a specific and defined point to the gathering. The goal is a rigor that allows meeting requests to be declined if no agenda is included – e.g. I’m not coming unless you tell me what we’re going to discuss and the plan of action afterwards. In your case, taking the “no agenda, no meeting” approach might work, and, if someone just needs to “discuss” something or has a question, then you can try other methods. Interestingly, we use Skype internally – I was skeptical at first, but for my new HR role, it has been a great way to answer questions quickly and immediately without adding to email loads or talking about things in our open plan environment.

    Again, good for you for taking your first steps in the battle. Keep fighting the good fight. No Excuses.


  2. Thanks for hanging in there to get your comments on the site! I love the strategies your organization is using, particularly Skype internally -> genius! I'm not sure we could pull off a meetings-free day simply due to our size, but your comments give me hope I can be much more efficient!