A simple hypothesis based on working with many organisations across a variety of industries

Posted by Alastair on April 6, 2017

Meetings

We have all worked in companies that host ineffective meetings.  You know the kind, no agenda, no decisions made and everyone secretly wishes they were somewhere else. It is true that corporates have cultures that promote meetings as a way to get things done but recently I have been drawing the parallels between how easy it is to get a meeting room and how well the decision-making process works within an organisation.

I’ve come to the conclusion that business effectiveness is inversely proportional to meeting room availability.

Sure, maybe it’s not quite that simple; it would take an analysis of the ratio of meeting rooms to numbers of staff, etc. But if we assume all of this is equal then I firmly believe it’s possible to measure the effectiveness of an organisation by the ability to book a meeting room.

Many organisations spend fortunes on consultants to determine how ‘empowered’ their organisations are and what to do about it. If my theory is right, then this will become a redundant service.

So, beyond the obvious time that’s often wasted in meetings, why is the meeting culture so damaging to driving an effective organisation?

To be effective, an organisation needs a combination of accountability and innovation. Meetings remove individual accountability and somehow devolve the decision-making process to a committee.

Innovation develops from having the bandwidth to think. When your senior team spends 90% of its time in meetings, where is this bandwidth, the thinking time, the time to reflect?

Where is the time to add value?

I’m not stating the solution is to ban all meetings, they have their place, but if a business runs via a meetings culture how can it ever grow into a high performing company?

Alastair

As the Founder and Chief Executive of Leadent Solutions, Alastair is the driving force behind Leadent. The company’s values and style all stem from Alastair’s unswerving determination to deliver value for clients in a way that makes the process enjoyable, rather than painful. He has over twenty-five years consulting experience, and has built Leadent into the UK’s only consultancy that specialises in field service optimisation.