Are meetings really the cornerstone of organisational life?

Why do some of us have too many meetings?

Ask a group of managers at random; which activity wastes most of your time and causes you the most frustration and most of your audience will say “meetings.” 
Some of us spend most of our waking hours in sort kind of meeting and have to fit in our real job around the meeting schedule whether they are face to face, telephone meetings or video conferences.
Too many meetings, meetings with no obvious purpose and slow or no progress from meetings leave most people wondering why we bother with them. If meetings are the soft production line of the modern business they rarely reflect the type of quality management process we use on a manufacturing production line. Reports by researchers over the last two decades put the ineffectiveness level of meetings across the FSTE 500 companies at between 35% - 50%. What else would a CEO put up with that had a 50% failure rate..? Still – before we rush of to improve them, lets are consider another question first…

Are meetings really the cornerstone of organisational life?

There are big meetings, small meetings, catch-up meetings, working parties, team briefings, project management meetings, training programmes and brainstorming session. While all of them offer the potential for a positive impact few of them do. Are meetings really a necessary tool to convey information, come up with new ideas, set priorities, make decisions and solve problems?  Because if we could perform these tasks another way, a less time consuming, less costly way are we as custodians of quality, experts in LEAN / TQM and process re-engineering duty bound to remove the non-value adding elements..? 35% - 50% of meetings are deemed ineffective; a waste of time, effort and energy let alone cost. 

What’s behind such a continual waste of time and energy?

  • Is it a lack of trust between organisational levels and teams?
  • Is that one or more people want the chance to veto everything?
  • Is it that we are so desperate to be keep informed, in the loop?
  • Are we afraid of getting the blame if we do something on our own and it goes wrong?

What are your thoughts..?  Contact me here with your thoughts

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