Extreme productivity and meetings

Extreme productivity requires that you take control of how you spend your time. From my experience, a huge amount of corporate time is spent in meetings. Since time is your most important resource, taking a closer look at how you spend your time in meetings may therefore have a huge impact on your productivity. This requires a two-step approach: Get rid of irrelevant meetings first and then make all remaining meetings vastly more productive.

It’s important to realize that the biggest waste of your time is not to be inefficient, but to do something which shouldn’t be done in the first place: To become excellent at something irrelevant. With this in mind, it’s helpful to recognize that there are only three purposes for any meeting: To take decisionsto brainstorm, or to drive a project. Therefore, take a careful look at all your meetings and start to eliminate those meetings which don’t focus on decision making, don’t use the contribution of the meeting participants to generate ideas, or don’t have any connection to a project.

Furthermore, if you decide to spend time in any meeting, make sure it’s as productive as possible. This requires three questions:

  1. At the beginning of every meeting, ask what success of this meeting would look like. This determines the purpose of the meeting and will focus any discussion on the topic(s) at hand.
  2. At the end of the meeting, ask what are the next actions. This ensures that every decision is turned into tangible actions to move an organization forward.
  3. Finally, after identifying an action, ask who owns the action. This determines the person responsible for each action and creates accountability in the organization to really get things done.

What will you do differently to raise the quality bar of the meetings in your organization?


Photo credit: iStockPhoto/olm26250

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