Many of the meetings the people in your company are in are laughably inefficient and ineffective.
The good news, if there is any, is that this article has nothing to do with meeting best practices. We all know what they are.
The problem is that meeting organizers almost never follow them.
That we have been ignoring best practices forever suggests a systemic problem. And in fact there is a "system" that is locked in place by the (in)actions four "players":
If you live in Seattle and find yourself complaining all the time about the rain, do everyone around you a favor and either move some place drier or stop complaining. Same with the ineffective meetings: do something or stop complaining...this is a fixable problem.
Tired of people whining about meetings that are a waste of time? Tired of hanging The Keys to Effective Meeting signs in meeting rooms only to have them ignored? Think there is huge productivity upside to tackling this problem?
If so, then here is the roadmap out of this meeting misery we have been in for decades:
* If you are the CEO (or a senior leader), you can address all four root causes. (You might think #3 is fairly immutable, but, I assure you, doing #1 fixes #3 in a hot minute). As for #2, it's of course up to you to decide what's important, but this is a pervasive, longstanding, and largely invisible lost productivity fissure. What signal do you send and therefore what behaviors are you effectively sanctioning by ignoring this problem?
* If you are HR, you can fix #1 (and therefore #3) and you can further nudge #3 with training and also fix #4 with training. Truth be told, HR can solve the company's ineffective meetings problem with these steps, whether the CEO takes up the yoke on this issue or not.
* If you are a meeting organizer and you just want to stop being part of the problem, you can partially fix #1 and fully address #3. You will need a little training.
* If you are a meeting attendee, you can fix #4 for the meetings you attend by exercising the agency you already have and learning some simple facilitation techniques. You will need a little training too.
If you live in Seattle and find yourself complaining all the time about the rain, do everyone around you a favor and either move some place drier or stop complaining.
Same with the ineffective meetings: do something or stop complaining...this is a fixable problem.
Dennis Adsit, Ph.D. is the President of Adsum Insights and designer of The “Me” in Meetings™ a short, no-nonsense training course for leaders or organizations who are sick and tired of living with the lost productivity and complaints about ineffective meetings.