No Time for Meetings?

May 4, 2015 2:04 pm Published by

No-time-for-MeetingsProbably the most common reason leaders give for not having regular business meetings is, “We don’t have time for meetings!” On the one hand, that’s understandable. Many meetings are poorly planned, don’t have clear objectives, and aren’t well run. No wonder employees complain about meetings. Those kinds of meetings are a waste of time.

Properly run meetings, however, can actually save time. Instead of wasting time chasing down key individuals for important information, you can have one short discussion with all of the critical players. Plus, you won’t have to spend extra time confirming information and getting buy-in. The result is that you can reach a quick decision that allows you to get to work.

Of course not all meetings are created equal. Not everybody needs to be in every meeting. And some meetings can be very short, while others are more involved. It’s part of what’s known in The Rockefeller Habits as “Meeting Rhythm,” and it looks something like this:

  •  The Daily Huddle: This is a 5-to-15 minute meeting that happens daily to cover tactical issues and provide updates. It allows you to deal with potential short-term problems and address unforeseen opportunities.
  •  The Weekly Meeting: This meeting should last 60-to-90 minutes and allows you to review quarterly priorities. The focus will usually be on one or two topics. It provides an opportunity to discuss market intelligence. Topics that continually resurface can shape the content of the monthly meeting.
  •  The Monthly Management Meeting: This half or full-day meeting is obviously longer, but it’s also restricted to senior, mid-level, and frontline managers. It focuses on bigger issues that require more than a few minutes to resolve.
  •  Quarterly or Annual Planning Meetings: These meetings are strategic in nature. These meetings often take a day—or even several days. This is where the business leaders discuss new goals and plans that affect the whole company (and generally brief all employees later).

Here’s what people sometimes miss about the importance of regular meetings. What is covered in the smaller, shorter, more regular meetings shapes what happens in the more strategic meetings. If you don’t have those short, regular meetings, the people running the more strategic meetings miss out on daily intelligence. And small problems that don’t get addressed quickly can become big problems.

If you don’t have time for meetings that will avoid problems (your weekly meetings), where will you find time to fix the problems that are sure to arise? And if you don’t take time for your strategic meetings to map out your company’s future, your company may not have a future.

Nobody has time to waste on unproductive meetings. But carefully planned and run meetings can save your company time and money. Make the time to save time!

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This post was written by Chuck Kocher