Are you meeting just to meet?

Ever walk out of a meeting saying, ‘Wow, that was a waste of two hours…I’ll never get that time back?”

Nothing drives me more insane than walking out of a meeting where an actionable item isn’t put on someone’s plate. This is precisely why Concordians are only allowed to hold a meeting or be part of a meeting where at least one actionable item is derived. And that action item should have someone’s name written next to it. This is called accountability.

Novel concept, I know. If you are the one holding meetings where actionable items are not an outcome, you are most likely just enjoying the sound of your own voice. Now, I understand there are meetings held to provide information, but during any informational meeting there should be a message delivered that contains at least one actionable item. I have seen a lot of articles telling us how to make our meetings more productive.

There’s no secret to meetings. If you’re going to meet, then create the “action.” An executive at a Fortune 100 told me this is more difficult to pull off at a large company. False. Rather, small companies can’t afford to be unproductive. Seems to me no one in this day and age can afford to be unproductive. After all, our great country was not built on just hanging out in a room together talking; it was built on someone taking action.

The actionable item to take away from this “blog meeting” is a commitment to yourself and your company: DO NOT allow yourself to sit in a meeting in 2011 without creating an action item and holding someone accountable for its execution. If you’re not careful, it could be you! Scary, I know. It’s work. There’s no magic. And with all the people out of work there’s someone just waiting for the opportunity to prove their ability to execute. Good luck.

Stu Nutting, President, Concord Inc.

American workers, on average, spend 45 hours a week at work, but describe 16 of those hours as “unproductive,” according to a study by Microsoft…The Microsoft survey pointed to worthless meetings. Respondents said they spent 5.6 hours each week in meetings and 71 percent of them thought that those meetings “aren’t productive.” Source: New York Times

Why Do Meetings Have a Bad Reputation?

Meetings dominate the way in which we do business today. In fact, approximately 11 million meetings occur in the U.S. each and every day. Although many of us complain about meetings, we can all expect to spend our careers deeply immersed in them. Most professionals attend a total of 61.8 meetings per month and research indicates more than 50 percent of this meeting time is wasted. Assuming each of these meetings is one hour long, professionals lose 31 hours per month in unproductive meetings, or approximately four work days. Considering these statistics, it’s no surprise that meetings have such a bad reputation.