Are you wasting your time with meetings?

image via Flickr Ville Säävuor

I have spent many years working with executives in the healthcare industry. I know executives that are booked three (3) meetings deep most hours of the day. When asked, “How do they determine which meeting to attend”, they reply, “Wherever the fire is.” Pardon my language but that’s just Short-Sighted!!

I was on the phone with an executive recently who told me that their VP told them to give everyone access to their calendar. This is one of the surest ways to destroy your day, your week, your month, and your year.

So how does this happen? Many meetings get set up as recurring meetings to address a project or an initiative. As the initiative changes scope and people are no longer needed, inertia is in place. So, they keep going. They keep attending. Some even saying that they want to stick pins in their eyes because the meetings are so boring. That’s because they are no longer needed. Nobody uninvited them. UNINVITE yourself!

So back to healthcare. If everyone is in meetings, who is executing on the strategies, the priorities, and the WORK?  Harvard Business Review reports that the average executive spends 23 hours a week in meetings! How do they get any work done?

Here are a few Strategies to improve your meetings:

  • Cull the herd. Stop every once and a while and ask, “who is really needed for this meeting and who can go back to work?”
  • Shorten the length of time for meetings. If the meetings are typically an hour, shorten them to 45 minutes. I’ll bet you can get them down to 30. And of course, you must know what kind of meeting it is. Is it a briefing? Is it deciding? Is it creating? They all have different time constraints.
  • Meetings start and end on time. Latecomers are locked out and a discussion is to follow.
  • Phones are off and put away unless specifically asked to put something in the calendar. Same with Laptops.
  • Have an agenda. The content can change but structure it so that there is a cadence. It will do wonders for building good meeting hygiene.

Meetings do not have to suck the life out of your organization’s productivity. Be intentional, create some standards, and have some rigor. Watch what happens. If you thought this article was valuable remember “sharing is caring.” You can contact me at john@johngies.com

Image courtesy of Flickr Ville Säävuor

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