“The least productive people are usually the ones who are most in favor of holding meetings” - Thomas Sowell
The #1 complaint busy workers tell me a major impediment is to getting their work done is due to the amount of time consumed attending meetings. That shouldn’t surprise as it’s widely reported how white-collar workers typically attend an average of 61.8 meetings per month with at least 50% of meeting time is wasted. How do the best deal with so many meetings?
As the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk is known for being innovative, hardworking (allegedly works 100 hours a week) and ambitious. I’m guessing he’s a guy who doesn’t suffer fools easily. Recently, he pulled no punches when emailing Tesla employees on the productivity principles he wants to be embedded regarding meetings:
1. Nix big meetings
"Excessive meetings are the blight of big companies and almost always get worse over time. Please get [out] of all large meetings, unless you're certain they are providing value to the whole audience, in which case keep them very short."
2. Ditch frequent meetings too
"Also get rid of frequent meetings, unless you are dealing with an extremely urgent matter. Meeting frequency should drop rapidly once the urgent matter is resolved.”
3. Leave a meeting if you're not contributing
"Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren't adding value. It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time."
Ineffective meetings are frustrating, they negatively impact morale and simply cost money. Maybe you don’t have the authority to ignore or walk out of meetings. However, what can you do to ensure the meetings you’re involved in are more productive? Consider 2 proven ways to stop wasting time in meetings
An organisations meeting culture is at the heart of how individuals collaborate as teams. High performing organisations embed a productivity culture that enables the achievement of outcomes in less time.
Maybe it’s time to reassess the value, purpose and frequency of the meetings you attend.