"When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, do not adjust the goals, adjust the action steps."
Just for one day try to finish each team meeting with the following question: "Who is doing what by when?", instead of "Have a nice day". At first, this may increase the duration of your meetings by 5-10 minutes, but over time it will shorten them and will increase their effectiveness.
One of the most common cold spots (time-consuming activities with low added value) in management practice are the ineffective meetings. The ones that are carried out with inertia. They involve too many people and they have too vague goals. Is the meeting about gathering ideas? Is it about making a final decision? Is it for presenting a new project? It is not clear.
Since the goal of the meeting is not mentioned at the beginning, people act impulsively and offer solutions when the decision has already been made. Or participants are asked to decide based on snippets of information from the meeting without preparing in advance. Or one of the worst cases - the meetings turn into an arena for pointing fingers and blowing off steam for 2-3 hours, without a break.
At one point, the workday was almost over, and someone trapped managers in ineffective meetings that only contributed to an increase in their current unfinished business and unanswered emails. If the average duration of an unproductive team meeting is about an hour and at the end of the meeting, you say that someone has wasted your time; it means only one thing. And that is - that you wasted your time. No one can waste your time. You may say that someone wasted 5 minutes at the beginning of an ineffective one-hour meeting. But you wasted the remaining 55 minutes. Not someone else. Not your manager. Not the unprepared organizer of the meeting. You have wasted 55 precious minutes of your life, simply because you have given priority to the unproductive meeting, instead of the actual work that awaits you.
But sometimes you are ready for someone else to "waste your time" just because you use that time to "switch off" while you are in the meeting. If you want to use your time at work and not become part of the mass "calendar slavery" then you will take part in meetings over 5 minutes only if these meetings are meaningful and productive. Otherwise, you will never have enough time. It will not be physically possible for you to take part in back-to-back meetings all day long.
What is the solution for productive meetings? Two things: 1) The highest possible simplification of the agenda, 2) Clarity at the end of the meeting about this: "Who is doing what by when?"
If it is clear what needs to be done, but it is not clear who will do it, the action will most likely be swallowed up by the black hole of collective irresponsibility. If it is clear who and what needs to be done, but no deadline has been set, it will not happen.
So, I invite you to close today's meetings not with "Have a nice day", but with "Who is doing what by when?". And only then with "Have a nice day".
"Cold Shower for Managers" by Plamen Petrov on Amazon - https://amzn.to/2Ka23CU
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