An eye test for your meetings
A few years back, a friend of mine got glasses. He remarked to me that it was a surprise that his eyes were that bad. He realised that he must have been putting up with pretty poor vision for a long time. Once he went to the optometrist and got glasses, it was clear that he had been putting up with deteriorating and inferior eyesight for years!
The same thing happens with the way that a lot of us deal with meetings. For a lot of us, we suspect that the way that we are meeting is not working as well as it could be. At the same time there is a degree of accepting the status quo. Typically, we find a way to function in spite of the way that we meet - not because of it. Many people seem to resign themselves to the idea that meetings aren't great, but that's the way it is.
I recently had someone ask me..."is there even such a thing as a good meeting?"
A simple way to assess meetings is to get people to look at their calendar. Often people are surprised by both the number of meetings and how much of their time is spent in meetings. After that, I will ask them to assess how effective they were (on a scale from Punishing to Powerful). Consistently, the response from the leaders that I speak with is that they:
attend too many meetings
think that the meetings that they attend go for too long
are involved in too many meetings don't achieve very much
As with so many things in life (like improving our fitness or changing jobs) moving towards mastery of meetings starts with identifying the need and deciding that it's worth taking action. To that point, research from Rogelberg, et al (2010) and includes the quote below:
"It appears as if meeting satisfaction is both a statistically and practically meaningful predictor of overall job satisfaction".
In other words, if people hate their meetings they are likely to hate their job. Seems like something worth paying attention to.
A couple of questions for you to consider:
1. How much attention do you pay to the quantity and quality of your meetings?
2. What are some strategies that you can put in place to have more effective meetings more often?