Business culture dictates that, when a problem occurs, a meeting is required to discuss the course of action. While a meeting can provide consensus, obtain input and knowledge from different perspectives, and is a vital part of effective communication, there are many cases where a meeting can hinder progress, add unnecessary bureaucratic functions, and waste time and money.
Many managers and employees complain about the amount of time spent in unproductive meetings. Psychology Today referenced Industry Week, found 2000 managers claimed that almost 30 percent of their time spent in meetings was pointless. Another article by Industry Week showed that 27 percent of workers claimed that meetings represented the biggest waste of time. An effective leader must differentiate between a problem or situation that would benefit from a meeting and one that would not.
When is a Company Meeting Unnecessary?
- Standard protocol should be established to handle problems that can be anticipated as part of doing business. For example, an issue of poor performance by an employee can be handled directly by an HR representative who should be trained and aware of HR policy, disciplinary procedures, and the approval process.
- Issues that fall under the purview of a particular business area or manager should be handled by the respective manager. Certain professional positions come with a level of accountability and responsibility. A manager should be empowered to make autonomous decisions in established areas. For example, the IT manager has a budget and should be charged with decisions as to how much of that budget should be allocated to threat management tools and software.
- Interpersonal relationships and conflicts within teams are a complex area. A meeting might be called for to clear up any misunderstandings or to discuss perspectives; however, there also may be a need for an investigation and fact finding, followed by mediation to solve any differences. Simply calling a meeting between factions may serve only to add fuel to the fire.
Meetings that are designed to collect feedback or information are often a waste of everyone’s time. Some attendees may be reluctant to provide input in front of colleagues. Additionally, it is more efficient to send out a questionnaire. This way, people can take their time to consider the questions and provide input at the most convenient time for them.
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