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MNC Consulting Group Newsletter
February 2012
The Efficient Organization

 

Meetings and More Meetings

 Meetings

One of the most cursed (yet most required) activities in any organization is meetings. I have not met an executive who has not complained about their meeting overload. And more specifically, the complaint is about attending non-productive meetings.

Meetings are and should be about real time exchange of ideas that lead to effective decisions. But not all meetings are effective or necessary. If meetings are poorly planned and executed, if people arrive late or leave early, if attendees digress or come unprepared to meetings, then meetings are counterproductive, wasting both time and money for the entire organization.

To make your meetings both efficient and effective, whether you arrange them or someone else does, engage your organization in the following eight proven techniques:

  1. One person should be in charge of arranging and facilitating the meeting. Remember if everyone is in charge, then no one is in charge and this causes disorganization and frustration for those involved.
  2. Schedule meeting time appropriately, but if the agenda is long, add extra time. It's always better to end the meeting sooner and provide "found" time for participants than to take a meeting over time.
  3. Prepare an agenda for each meeting. The agenda should clearly state the purpose, objectives and goals of the meeting. If you don't know what to put on the agenda, then you don't need a meeting.
  4. Place attendee names on the agenda. Now ask yourself: are all invitees necessary? The larger the group, the more inefficient the meeting (effectiveness decreases and duration increases with each additional participant). Do all attendees have something to contribute to the meeting? If not, they don't need to come to the meeting. Instead, a follow-up to the meeting (minutes) can be provided. Just because you're the boss and feel you should be at the meeting, trust that your staff will give you an update of the decisions made during the meeting. As a leader, use your time wisely and delegate others to attend meetings on your behalf, as appropriate.
  5. Stay on topic. Discourage side discussions.
  6. Ask people to turn off their iPhones and BlackBerrys. No one is good at multi-tasking. If they're looking at their smartphone, they're not paying attention to the meeting.
  7. Always close a meeting with an outline of decisions and actions that participants have agreed to during the meeting.
  8. Finish the meeting on time.

The key "take away" from the above points is this: organized and well facilitated meetings with the necessary group of attendees will save the organization time, money, and move the organization's strategies forward. Anything short of this is inefficient and wasteful. 

Pursuit of Profit

 

It Ain't CheapDollar Bills

 

If you spend most of your days in meetings, but took for granted that it was just part of your job, you're wrong. Just because meetings may be part of the job description, some sound judgment is needed to determine whether you should be attending each and every meeting to which you're invited. After all, someone (the organization) needs to pay for each and every meeting attendee. And if your meetings are not effective or efficient, the cost is even greater.

Consider the following.

  • An average meeting lasts one hour.
  • An average meeting has about five participants.
  • Assume that the average annual salary for each of the participants is $100,000.
  • The cost in terms of salary for your meeting is $2,500. This does not include unknown or hidden costs such as lost opportunity costs, i.e., what you or your employees may have completed if you weren't in the meeting.

Now consider how many such meetings occur each day in your organization (and multiply that to get your annual count) and you get the idea of how quickly money and productivity is blown away on unnecessary meetings.

Next time you need to convene a meeting, ask yourself if the whole department really needs to attend. And if you're invited to a meeting, ask what contribution you are required to make at the meeting that cannot be done outside of the meeting. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how much time you'll gain each week when you become very selective of which meetings to attend.

In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)

Have you ever turned down an invitation to an event and then felt guilty about it? Do you remember why you felt guilty? I'm going to guess here and say it's because your "reason" for declining was not truthful. If you tell the truth all the time (be courteous, though) and take 100% responsibility for all of your actions, then there is no reason to feel guilty about anything. Ever. Victim stories and blaming outside circumstances won't help you move forward. IMHO.

 

"Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses"

George Washington Carver 

About MNC Consulting Group
Our goal is to help you to dramatically increase efficiencies that immediately boost your profit margins.

 

ISSN 1925-8941   

Extreme Profits is a monthly electronic newsletter discussing how leaders can be more efficient and areas where organizations can save more money. 

 

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5536A Hamsterly Road | Victoria, B.C. V8Y 1S5 | 250-658-4873

 

In This Issue
The Efficient Organization
Pursuit of Profit
In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)
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