According to a University of North Carolina cross-industry study cited by HBR in their Stop the Meeting Madness article, 71% of senior leaders said that meetings are unproductive and inefficient.
In addition to this, they said that meetings:
- Keep them from completing their required work (65%)
- Come at the expense of deep thinking (64%)
- Miss opportunities to bring the team closer together (62%)
My Poll Results
There is probably nothing so maligned in the modern world as the business meeting. There are countless blogposts, articles, vlogs, and books written about how much time and money are wasted in business gatherings. Similarly, there is the same amount of effort detailing how to conduct effective meetings . . . yet the business world continues to make the same mistakes!
Meetings still lead the business world as one of the largest wastes of corporate time and stakeholder money!
However, effective meetings do serve a crucial function in any organization. Without effective face to face time for leaders, the corporation would wither and die. It is in meetings that innovative ideas are born, visions are cast, fortunes are made, and empires are created.
A great example of an idea that was created out of a series of productive meetings is the modern day GPS.
This week’s book review is Smart Thinking by Art Markman, PHD.
Smart Thinking explores three essential keys to solving problems, innovating and getting things done. Basically, Smart Thinking requires developing Smart Habits to acquire High Quality Knowledge and to apply your knowledge to achieve your goals. A Smart Habit is the repetition of a desired behavior until it becomes an engrained habit. High Quality Knowledge is accurate and tested knowledge without gaps or inaccuracies.
Everyone is familiar with dysfunctional business meetings! The meetings where the people around the table or on the conference call are partially, if not completely, disengaged. You have people on Facebook, people texting, trading stocks, surfing the web, day dreaming and even taking cell phone calls in subdued voices like the rest of the people there can’t hear or see what is going on!
It is the most bizarre thing but we have all been there! Check out this hilarious video for some great examples.
I remember attending a meeting where one of the participants literally fell asleep with their head back and their mouth wide open! It was the sort of wacky thing that you would only expect to see on an episode of The Office . . . Except it wasn’t on TV it was in my meeting!
I have been in other meetings where the meeting leader was doing their presentation and a participant’s cell phone rang and they answered it at the conference room table like they were the only one there!
Why do these things happen in meetings?
How often are you introduced to someone and you quickly forget their name? Or you attend a meeting and shortly after cannot recall what was discussed?
Research by Dr. Art Markman (University of Texas) has shown that your memory of an event (introductions, business event, a meeting, hockey game, car accident, etc.) is organized around three separate things that you experienced during that event. This is because your brain can typically only pay attention to three “sub events” at one time and then tends to organize all of your memories around these sub events.
Dr. Markman calls this the “Role of 3.”