As leaders we have a love/hate relationship with meetings. We know that when we get people together we have the opportunity for collaboration, creative problem solving and clear communication. For these reasons and more, most any leadership development program is going to include some training on meeting management or facilitation (though in my experience, probably not enough).
While the OfficeTeam survey of 150 senior executives reported in the USA Today last week was just a little snapshot graphic it told a useful story.
The question: How would employee productivity be affected if your company banned meetings one day a week?
No change 46%
More productive 45%
Less productive 7%
Don’t know 2%
Would I expect that some leaders would feel fewer meetings would be better?
Even so, with my experience with meetings and with leadership development, I was a bit surprised at the results.
While I certainly think there are some advantages to having a day a week without meetings, the data begs some other questions for anyone interested in organizational leadership development. Questions like:
– How productive are our meetings?
– How would others answer that question?
– What could we do to improve the productivity of the meetings we have?
Meetings CAN be a waste of time and they can be the biggest productivity and engagement tool in any organization.
The difference in outcome rests first and foremost on the shoulders and hands and mind of you as a leader.
Here are three things you can do that will make a difference – both immediately and long term:
– Have clear desired outcomes for every meeting that are communicated before hand
– Use, and follow an agenda (that is focused on those desired outcomes
– Hold people accountable for the action items
A much longer list could be shared, but when you make these three things your organizational habits, you will improve the productivity of your meetings substantially, and perhaps if you were surveyed, your results would be different than the ones I shared above!