The current situation with the COVID-19 virus has given organisations an opportunity to reassess their business activities.
If not properly managed, one of the most non-productive business activities is the “on-site meeting”. This is where people meet in a meeting room to discuss business issues.
These are old fashioned, expensive and if not properly designed, appear to be waste a time and money.
Here are some issues with the current situation:
- Cost of flying people to the meeting – this not only wastes time and money but it is also an environmental issue.
- Having C-Suite and Senior Managers at a meeting together is really costly. If you look at applying some lean manufacturing principles, meetings would never happen. The return on investment is just not there.
- Phones left on in the meeting. So when a phone rings the meeting is interrupted and paused – that’s just rude behaviour.
- Not turning up on time to the meeting. Once again if you applied some lean principles, the meetings would be removed based on the amount of waste.
- Poor time keeping and the meeting drags on well after the scheduled meeting close.
- No fixed agenda. Therefore, the “issue of the moment” takes over the meeting. The purpose of the meeting is lost – more waste in time and money.
So this current situation has given us a great opportunity to make a change.
Let’s move to remote meetings that are well managed and well-coordinated.
At this point one knows how long this COVID-19 event will last. It may become the new norm. So let’s embrace a new way.
If you need to have a meeting then here are some principles you must consider:
- There's one person responsible.
- The time allocated matches what's needed, not what the calendar app says.
- Everyone invited is someone who needs to be there, and no key party is missing.
- There's a default step forward if someone doesn't come.
- There's no better way to move this forward than to have this meeting.
- The desired outcome is clearly stated. The organizer has described what would have to happen for the meeting to be cancelled or to stop midway. "This is what I want to happen," and if there's a "yes," we're done.
- All relevant information, including analysis, is available to all in plenty of time to be reviewed in advance.
Reference: Seth Godin
What steps should you put in place?
- Create a standard agenda for the virtual meeting:
- The meeting will always follow the agenda.
- Don’t include previous items, simply add or remove items when addressed.
- Dial in to the meeting on time.
- Turn your phones off – you will get better productivity in the meeting.
- Assign responsibilities and timeframe to each action.
- If you were assigned an action, do it and prep the night before. So when asked about it you have your responses prepared with evidence.
- If you're not adding value to a meeting, leave. You can always read the summary later.
- The organizer of the meeting is required to send a short email summary, with action items, to every attendee within ten minutes of the end of the meeting.
- Embrace a new way of conducitng onsite meetings.
- Decide on some key principles.
- Create a standard agenda.
- Be engaged. If not, leave.
- Have an email summary with action items.