It struck me coming out of several meetings in the last few days that we usually seem to book meetings for an hour. Why is that?
Why do meetings seem to take an hour, no matter what the issue is? Surely there are some things that can be dealt with in a shorter time and some that can take longer.
Why do we need multiple meetings on the same subject? Can’t we accomplish the meeting’s objectives in one meeting?
Why also do we need multiple meetings with the same people over the course of a week or a month? Can’t we get organized enough to cover those peoples’ needs all at one time?
Are meetings expanding to fill the time available?
Are we just holding meetings because it is easier than picking up the phone or writing an email?
Are we holding them because it makes us feel important, needed, engaged?
If we hate meetings so much then why?
Maybe I’m an anomoly but I LOVED meetings! Meetings were my sandbox where I got to do my job – sit quietly, observe and listen. My job was risk management – identifying problems both real and potential – that others may not have recognized yet and helping work teams resolve issues.
Sitting in executive meetings I understood the underlying concerns,goals and strategies. Sitting in meetings with work teams, I got to observe the gaps in what was really happening.
Roles like the one I had don’t exist except as anomolies. I was privileged to have such an exciting role for so many years. Generally speaking, I think meetings is where the real issues affecting the success of the business will surface … as long as someone is there to look for it.
I must admit that I used to enjoy meetings as well. Not because we got anything done but because they were a chance to socialize, shoot the shit and relax away from phones, interruptions and email.
I think in a lot of offices people would be delighted if meetings were kept to ONLY one hour! The challenge is running meetings efficiently, which far too rarely happens in the corporate world.
Ah yes, efficiency. It might be interesting to challenge a workplace to get things done without meetings for a week or month just to see what would happen, how people would invent new ways to accomplish the same objective.