Working in a medium sized agency is all fun and games until you find yourself sitting in meetings all day. The person who called the meeting can check something off of their list, but for that one item being checked off, there's an entire room of todo lists that are sitting idle and probably growing.
Meet all day! Work all night!
- Fantasy AC/DC song celebrating corporate life
Despite knowing that the internet is the playground of the idealized self, my ears still perk up when I see anything about how other businesses are working to create better meetings.
- Do you really need a meeting? If not, don’t schedule one and just go talk to the person. It’s generally easier, faster and more efficient.
- Meetings should be 15 minutes by default. If you need longer, take longer, but most meetings don’t need much longer than that. People will find ways to fill whatever amount of time the meeting was scheduled for, so don’t schedule more time than you need. If you get scheduled in a longer meeting, why don’t you ask why it needs to be so long?
- No spectators. If you don’t have any reason to be in the meeting, don’t go. We don’t need spectators at meetings. The corollary of this is that if there are spectators in your meeting, ask them why they’re there and to leave if they don’t have any reason to be there.
- Have a purpose, state it upfront. If your meeting doesn’t have a goal than you should probably revisit tip #1. You should have a goal (except for weekly check-in meetings) and everyone should understand that goal. If you are attending a meeting and you don’t know the goal, ask. If the person who set the meeting doesn’t have an answer, suggest the meeting be moved until there is one. This will help A LOT.
- Make tasks, assign them to people. Meetings start to suck when everyone walks away and it isn’t clear who is doing what. If you set a goal at the beginning there should be some tasks at the end. Make sure everyone knows who is assigned to those tasks (put them in Asana if applicable). A task isn’t a task if it doesn’t have a person assigned to it.
- Don’t bring computers or phones. This is important enough to mention again. If we want to have as few meetings as possible and make them as short as possible it’s important that everyone is focused on the task at hand. That means not doing other stuff during the meeting. If you catch someone doing something else (including James or Noah) call them out and ask them not to. If their computer is open and they’re not presenting or creating tasks/taking notes, ask them to close it. If they need to be checking mail or working on something else, they probably shouldn’t be at the meeting.
Marissa Meyer streamlines decision-making with data:
By making decisions with metrics, she can avoid lengthy debates stemming from opinions and organizational politics.
And she uses micro-meetings:
she allows people to book meetings as short as 10 minutes ... There’s an adage in project management: work expands to the time you schedule for it. By pushing people to say what they need to say in 10 minutes, Mayer was able to meet more people in less time.
Elon Musk prefers arguing with facts vs. prior experiences:
To Musk, decisions should not be based on prior experiences. He encourages thinking based on “first principles” — boiling a situation down to its basic, fundamental truths and then reasoning up from there.