We are about to embark on our latest research project on corporate meetings. I find myself wondering why. In fact, I find myself wondering why bother.
Meeting Magic has invested into research projects since its foundation in 1999. Also during that time we have facilitated thousands of meetings. The conclusions are consistent—both statistically and anecdotally—the productivity of most meetings in large organisations is appalling.
Previous studies have shown that managers in large organisations spend 50 to 75% of their time in meetings. Of those meetings 46% are a complete waste of time. You don’t have to be a finance guru to realise that the cost of this non-productivity is phenomenal. Just calculating the time, let alone the lost opportunity cost. (In fact, recent studies in the USA demonstrate the impact. In just the US $37 Billion is spent on unproductive meetings a year.)
But I am in danger of repeating myself. The question I am now considering is why, when the evidence is so strong, are so few organisations willing to tackle this problem. I’m wondering if it’s because no one leader wants to stand in the uncomfortable truth that their meetings might not be great. The personal nature of accepting this truth is possibly too uncomfortable for most leaders to face. Of course they have risen to the dizzying heights of their organisations through meeting after meeting. How could they face the truth that those meetings don’t work? In fact I am feeling so bold as to suggest that, the higher up the organisation, the less productive, creative, and engaging the meeting.
So here’s my question to every business person that leads meetings: Are the meetings you lead productive, creative and engaging? Really? Or do you get away with some appalling meetings?
If you feel uncomfortable, even slightly, with this question then I congratulate you on your self-awareness. If you’d like to do something about this call us.