I had a very interesting discussion with a fellow virtualization expert & strategic advisor at E2EVC Rome 2013. We discussed many issues and the topic came up that we see way too many potentially strong organizations sub come to “death by meetings”. Instead of fixing this they are treating the symptoms and are declaring the symptoms to be “illegal”. It’s almost pandemic. You really need to opt out of this this madness for the sake of the company and getting work done.
I think we need to take this further. Bar reverting to the tactics of a UK manager who locked all meeting rooms and took the keys away whilst telling his staff to stop meeting and start working, we should implement these rules:
- There is an absolute maximum of 5 hours meeting per 8 hour workday. Work less than full time? Adjust accordingly. This is non negotiable for anyone. You must decline any meeting that violates this rule. You must not strive for this maximum.
- You must decline any meeting that has no agenda.
- No meeting can have more than 5 attendees unless a very valid reason and need is motivated in the agenda. If not, you have to decline the meeting.
- Meetings have to be planned in advance & cannot be made permanent. That is reserved for councils or meetings of the board.
- Everyone, from the lowest pay grade to the top manager hast to abide by these rules
- Teleconferencing is a perfectly valid way of meeting and is included in these 5 hours.
People, really, stop meeting for 8 hours a day. It’s scary so many companies can’t get a grip on this. Your thoughts?
Great point, it’s so easy to fall into the meeting trap!
In the past I used to ask managers if during longer meetings I could be called into the meetings at the relevant point. This was well received in a few larger companies as I often needed to talk and listen for just 5-10 minutes of 90 minute meetings. However my diary was still blocked for meeting and the time used wisely to tackle important tasks.
I guess by always being there promptly and on demand the trust of regular attendees was gained.
5 Hours? That seems high to begin with!
Frankly I wouldn’t want to see a day with more than 3 hours of pure meetings. I would however exclude meetings with customers & any project work. By project work I mean actually sitting down as a team and burning through deploying / building / troubleshooting type work.
Roles differ and to stop the tide we’ll have to accept that as it is the absolute maximun for even the most meeting intensive role. Most roles should be able to do with a lot less.
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