Effective Time Management – “Meeting-itis” Syndrome

In this unexpected but, already somehow, familiarized context of work and remote connections, the issue of effective time management certainly took an important role.

The huge number of meetings is an issue that teams and managers of organizations have been fighting, often without too much success. “Meeting-itis” syndrome is the order of the day. Unproductive meetings and huge amount of time invested, or spent, in endless sessions that, in addition to being inefficient, drastically drain the energy of the teams.

According to a survey we did a few weeks ago, 80% of the respondents said that “Meeting-itis” syndrome worsened during quarantine. While the “home office” imposed by the current situation surely resulted in organizations, leaders and teams having to accommodate the new reality in record time and in the best possible way, the loss of energy and efficiency is always a matter of concern.

Today in many cases the whole work itself works “in meeting mode”, and that is why its proper functioning is key. A good meeting generates action, commitment, and inclusion, helping to build a healthier culture.

It is time for better meetings. Meetings that are worthwhile and have impact.

Some key points that I think are important to consider when dealing with the issue, and gradually address its reversal:

  • Is the meeting necessary or could it be avoided with an e-mail, message, or direct call? The meeting begins when planning, so the first issue that arises is your REAL need.
  • Who to invite to the meeting? Choosing each participant’s roles well is critical. Let’s make sure that those who are going to attend really make sense.
  • What is the real goal? Will it be a decision-making, informative… Sending a clear agenda and materials 24 hours before, gives everyone a chance to get aligned and prepared.
  • Who will ensure that the meeting flows in time and objectives as planned? The organizer of the meeting owns the meeting and must ensure these two key objectives. Ensuring not to deviate too much in conversations and define timekeepers is a highly recommended practice.
  • Does everyone here have an opinion? A meeting is a powerful inclusion tool. Giving voice and opportunity to everyone present ensures integration and different points of view to the same issue.
  • What actions will be taken after the meeting? Securing actionables is critical. In short, it’s the very meaning of the meeting. Without this, the meeting loses its meaning.

Undoubtedly, quarantine accelerated a process that was already being developed at different speeds according to each organization, but which came to stay to a greater or lesser range. That’s why, the Home Office and collapsed meeting agendas need to evolve and adjust to become more efficient.

Being respectful of one’s own time and others’ time is key.

Let us always remember that the transformation of organizations arises from people who are part of it. It’s the agreements between people that generate change and evolution, which undoubtedly impact a virtuous circle.

By Esteban Calvente – INAC Argentina

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