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Stop useless meetings!

Participating in meetings is part of our work lives. It’s strange actually, because 71% of all senior managers do not even see meetings as productive! You wonder then, why do we spend so much time and money on it? We apparently can’t change it.

In the last few years, some new techniques have been added to further improve meeting efficiency such as standup meetings and shorter meetings. It seems to me that these techniques can help a little, but many of these changes are mostly cosmetic. I think the real problem lies deeper.

Meetings can never be successful as long as it is not clear what the objective of a meeting is and people with decision-making power do not participate. These kinds of sessions, of which I have experienced numerous ones myself, often end up in:

  • Long-winded sessions with PowerPoint presentations. Who has not been in the room when someone gets 10 minutes to present, then the person is not able to manage the time, and nobody intervenes?
  • Meetings where it’s more about who has been invited to the table. Sometimes even who is sitting next to whom?
  • Sessions where status updates are given. But these status updates are in reality an exam where people are judged by the boss on the spot. Or meetings where participants that give status updates to each other ... End ... That’s it. No follow up.

Each meeting must always meet three conditions in order to be successful:

  1. Each participant has a clear reason to participate in the meeting. Fewer people is often better.
  2. Each participant can make a real contribution during the meeting.
  3. Together, the participants can make progress on the priorities and actions of the organization. And they keep each other accountable for the progress.

If you rigorously apply this simple checklist of three points to all the meetings that you organize, you will start to see the changes from the bottom up.

In our practice we see a big difference with clients that have anchored the strategy execution method in the routine of their business. Each meeting is focused on their priorities and the actions that they have agreed upon. They are no longer distracted by things of a lower priority.

Hope this inspires


Paul Donkers

Organizing a meeting every now and then is necessary. But meetings are most effective if they are embedded in a strategy execution way of working. Do you want to know more about how this approach can make a difference for your organization? Or do you want to know more about what these programs have already done for other organizations? Then read on in our strategy execution programs.

By Paul Donkers

"my purpose is to help improve strategy execution, to create high performing teams and coach for effective business leaders"

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