To many this may be a banal statistic about meetings, but it should make everyone take pause and consider its wider implications. A Harvard Business Review study showed 40% of manager’s time is spent in meetings, and a mere 38% of meetings achieve their objectives. When you compound that lost opportunity across even a small firm of 10 managers, the resulting losses stretch to $250,000 a year or $5,000 a week in unproductive meetings. At its core, this is a cultural problem that requires a cultural transformation to address.
Improving meetings and the culture that drives them enhances strategic results and execution, improves communication and engagement, enhances collaboration, ensures accountability, strengthens organization leadership capacity, and has a cascading effect across the behavior, actions, and decisions made by everyone at an organization. There are practical steps – those that mirror the behavior of board rooms at the highest levels of business – to begin improving your meetings.
To understand just how the best firms shape their culture to improve meeting outcomes we turned to an expert – Stuart R. Levine, the Chairman and CEO of Stuart Levine & Associates LLC, a management consulting firm for governance, conducted a webinar with us late last month. Mr. Levine, a board governance expert and best-selling author, presented a wealth of advice for improving meeting outcomes. To correct those dreary hours of wasted meetings he presented advice managers would be wise to consider:
- Create the proper agenda
- Define the meetings purpose clearly
- Use agendas to keep meetings on track
- Establish guidelines for behaviors
- Respect the deployment of human capital
- Infuse meetings with energy
- Align through common language (e.g. I got it/you’re killing me)
- Define clear next steps and assign accountabilities
You can watch the entire webinar and view the slide deck here. The PLAN Model Mr. Levine has developed and explored in the webinar are easy steps for successfully running and improving active participation in meetings. It is offered through their EduLeader program and definitely worth your consideration. It will make your meetings more productive, enhance collaboration, and create accountability.