Meetings don’t work.
Or, at least, the majority of staff meetings are time-wasting, productivity-killing, creativity-stifling products of wishful or delusional thinking.
Before the pandemic and its mass movement to remote and hybrid work, meetings were already problematic.
We’ve all seen how meetings fail.
Most meetings in the office result from a policy to hold regular — often weekly — staff “update” meetings. Or they’re the result of procrastination. We can’t make a decision right now, so let’s schedule a meeting. Or some new initiative, problem, or idea inspires action, and scheduling a meeting feels like action.
Once the meeting begins, eyes glaze, and some meeting participants start mentally tuning out the conversation while pretending to pay attention. (Others don’t even pretend; it’s become increasingly normal or acceptable to stay glued to a laptop or phone screen during meetings .
Meetings are often dominated by attention-seekers, ladder climbers, extroverts, and long-winded speech-makers. In contrast, others mostly remain silent with little to no correlation between saying something and having something to say.
Meetings suppress creative thought . Most end in a fog of vagueness, without clear objectives, deadlines, and assignments .
And employees hate them.Many employees see meetings not as work but as a break from work — a time to socialize. “Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything,” economist John Kenneth Galbraith once said.The solution? Get control of your meetings, we’re told by experts.You’ve heard the meeting advice.Start on time and lock out late participants. Craft an agenda with no more than three items and stick to it. State the objectives of the meeting at the outset. Shut down the long-winded and push the quiet to talk. Ban phones and laptops. Don’t allow non-meeting tasks during the meeting.Finally, end the meeting on time even if the plan isn’t finished.In other words, meetings are a massive waste of time unless you take drastic measures to forcibly shoehorn your employees’ minds, bodies, and thoughts into a rigid, artificial, rule-based system.Such regimented meetings were rare but doable. And then remote work’s Zoom meeting revolution happened. Video meetings ended the ability to enforce some of the old meeting best-practices […]
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