In a perfect world, companies operate efficiently and with perfect information. The meetin management policy is that there are no meetings allowed.
What it Means
Effective meetings are structured conversations that enable a business to drive decision-making, problem-solving, information sharing, team alignment, and productivity.
Meeting management refers to the process of planning, organizing, conducting, and following up on meetings in a business setting. This might sound simple on the surface, but anyone who's been stuck in a poorly run meeting knows that it involves much more than just setting a date and time. Effective meeting management involves creating clear agendas, ensuring the right people are in the room, facilitating effective communication, keeping the discussion on track, and defining clear action steps following the meeting. Setting a standard for how your business handles meeting management can
Why it Matters
Effective meetings play a critical role in an organization's operational efficiency. They facilitate clear communication, encourage team engagement, and expedite decision-making. Ineffective meetings, are a significant drain on a company's time and resources.
Productivity and Efficiency: Poorly managed meetings can be time sinks, draining employees' productivity and wasting company resources. Is the daily all-hands a productive use of 30 minutes or are your highly paid employees tuning the meeting out and playing Candy Crush during 6% of their 40-hour work week? What about the time after the meeting that it will take them to context switch and get back to being productive?
Communication and Collaboration: Meetings serve as a platform for information sharing, brainstorming, and collaborative decision-making.
Employee Engagement: When run effectively, meetings can increase employees' sense of involvement and ownership in their work, boosting motivation and engagement.
Accountability and Action: By concluding meetings with clear decisions, action steps, and responsibilities, effective meeting management promotes accountability and drives progress.
Amazon is not just one of the largest companies in the world, it's also famous for its approach to meeting management. Meetings are limited to 30 minutes or less. The agenda and background materials are sent in advance so attendees come prepared. Meetings start and end on time - latecomers are not allowed to enter. Disagreement and debate are encouraged to surface the best ideas. Jeff Bezos shares his three rules for productive meetings as follows:
Two pizza teams - "We try to create teams that are no larger than can be fed by two pizzas. We call that the two-pizza team rule." - Bezos.
No PowerPoint - Meetings require someone to prepare a six-page, narratively structured memo. "It has real sentences, and topic sentences, and verbs, and nouns--it's not just bullet points."
Start with silence - Meetings start with silence as everyone reads the meeting memo in silence before discussion begins.
The Delphi Method brings together people to make forecasts or decisions through iterative rounds of discussion with controlled feedback. In early rounds, experts give independent opinions free of groupthink. Opposing views are presented to all participants in later rounds. The goal is to get expert consensus after weighing all viewpoints.
In practice, let's say the team is a product development team at a software company, and they are having weekly meetings to discuss the roadmap for their next project. Using the Delphi Method for these meetings would be a systematic, interactive forecasting method based on independent inputs of selected experts. The process could look something like this:
Pre-Meeting: The team leader identifies key questions and topics for next week's product roadmap meeting. These are posted in a collaborative space like Google Docs or Confluence. All team members are required to review these and to weigh in with their comments or thoughts at any time up until 24 hours ahead of the meeting.
Analysis: The team leader summarizes the responses, identifying consensus and divergent views.
Second Survey: A second survey is issued, containing the summary of responses, for team members to reconsider their initial views.
Meeting: The Delphi results are presented at the weekly meeting. The team discusses, focusing on contentious issues and leveraging consensus points to decide the project roadmap.
Stand-up Meetings: Often used in Agile environments, stand-up meetings are short, daily check-ins where team members share their progress and any obstacles they're facing. The primary goal is to ensure alignment and quick problem-solving.
Strategy Meetings: These are high-level meetings where decisions about the company's strategic direction are made. The attendees typically include key decision-makers in the organization, and the discussions often revolve around market trends, business opportunities, and strategic initiatives.
Project Review Meetings: These meetings occur at specific milestones during a project to evaluate progress, solve issues, and align the team on next steps.
One-on-One Meetings: Managers hold these meetings with individual team members to provide feedback, discuss progress, and understand any challenges they might be facing.
Stack it - Resources & Tools
Frameworks: The 'DACI' framework (Driver, Approver, Contributors, Informed) can help clarify everyone's role in decision-making during meetings.