There is a common theme in the conversations I have been having with many of my clients recently. It goes like this…
‘I spend all my day in back to back meetings. The online calendar does not allow time between meetings, so I am always running late. When I get to the end of the day I have achieved nothing, because I have been in meetings. I end up working in the evenings to complete the actions I got in the meetings.’
This sounds like a nightmare! But the really worrying thing is that it’s not confined to one organisation. This seems to be prevalent in many large organisations.
The thing I find shocking is that during the recent global recession most businesses have been working hard to keep themselves competitive: focusing on keeping overheads down; developing new products and services to keep ahead of competition; and developing new markets. By contrast, the cumulative effect of all these unproductive meetings, can only be to retard the growth and profitability.
So, why oh why aren’t people paying attention to this!!!?
And, when organisations do recognise this problem the solutions they put in place tend to be ‘sticky plasters’, rather than addressing root causes i.e. Meeting Rules that get put on the conference room walls to collect dust.
It seems to me that the success of many large organisations can only be because they hire bright people who manage to get things done despite the dreadful meetings. Image what could happen if all the meetings were really productive!