Scott Belsky ran a great session at SXSW, 'Tips For Making Ideas Happen'. Along with his insight into how people and organisations manage ideas, he talked about meetings; if there are no action points that arise from a meeting, then what was the point of having it? I think this is a great benchmark for whether to have a meeting or not. If no party wrote anything down or said they would respond with x or y, then what was the point of all that?
I've worked in organisational cultures and with clients at both ends of the spectrum. Companies locked into a constant meeting-culture. Routine meetings every week with line-managers, regular team meetings, management meetings, group meetings, project meetings. Too many meetings. You spend so long in meetings, you lack the right time to spend on delivering actions. And then there are those companies who have no framework for regular meetings so that communication gets overlooked, no-one knows what is going on and people rely on email or word of mouth to share information. And that doesn’t work either.
When I last worked in an organisation, Mondays were full of meetings. I’d start the day with a routine meeting with my boss, then I would have a meeting with my team, and then it would be lunchtime and I would be stressed that I hadn’t actually done everything. I agree with Scott Belsky that we should challenge this whole notion of just having a meeting because it’s a Monday.
So make sure you are having meetings for the right reason. Never call a meeting when you don't have anything to say, don't attend a meeting without thinking what you are contributing and don't just have a meeting because it's a Monday.