"We just seem to meet and meet and meet and we never seem to do anything." — Richard Collard, FedEx
A 2005 Microsoft survey of 38,000 people worldwide found that the average worker feels productive only 60% of the time. Ineffective meetings ranked in the top three time wasting activities. Meetings tend to be viewed as costly by each participant due to the time it takes away from their “productive work.”
Here are some rules for holding a more effective “Lean” meeting:
Quick Time Saver: Simple Rules for Holding Lean Meetings
Rule 1 – Reduce the duration of most meetings. Try restricting meetings to no more than thirty minutes in most cases.
Rule 2 – Have only a single topic on the agenda, or perhaps several closely related items – it’s hard to run a multi-topic meeting efficiently.
Rule 3 – Only invite those people who have a need to be there. Uninvited attendees should be discouraged – they can waste the rest of the group’s time.
Rule 4 – Foster a culture that discourages lateness. If an attendee is running late, they should notify the meeting holder as to when they will arrive.
Rule 5 – Define the goals of the meeting when it is announced, and identify any pre-work that should be performed or information that is needed.
Rule 6 – Tangential issues should be captured in a “parking lot” for future discussion.
Rule 7 – Ask attendees at the beginning of the meeting if they are expecting any emergency calls, otherwise ALL ELECTRONICS SHOULD BE TURNED OFF! You may need to forcibly remove smartphones from peoples’ hands.
Rule 8 – Do not begin the meeting until everyone in the room agrees on the “deliverables” that will be created. EVERY MEETING SHOULD HAVE A DELIVERABLE, OR THE TIME SPENT WILL PROBABLY BE WASTED.
Rule 9 – Ask yourself if a formal meeting is really necessary before interrupting multiple peoples’ value creating work.
Your time and that of your organization is valuable. Some say time is more valuable than money. Time can't be saved. It can only be spent! We spend it at the exact rate of one minute per minute. We can’t spend more or less no matter how hard we try. We can’t spend more than 5 minutes in five minutes with a friend, and we can’t spend less than 5 minutes in five minutes being angry in traffic. Our rate of spending is fixed. All we can control is where we choose to invest