What is management? What is the difference between governing body and management? What is the relevance of meetings in management? Does the management layer need to conduct so many meetings? Seems like simple questions not sure how well it is understood and applied.
I am sure most of us have attended or conducted meetings as a part of management governance. Meetings are a part of management governance and are certainly required, but today’s managers spend most of their time in meetings, and so important activities of the management layer has taken a back seat. There is an urgent need to separate governance from management.
Harvard Business Review did a survey of managers about the effectiveness of meetings, the findings are shocking.
65% said meetings keep them from completing their own work. 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient. 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking. 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together.
The US alone wastes $37 billion per year on unproductive meetings.
Based on a Verizon study, 91% of people admit to daydreaming in meetings, and 39% to dozing off. So before you schedule that next meeting, take a moment to think whether it's really needed.
Someone once said to me meeting is where minutes are made and hours are lost. How right he is, I am sure most of you reading this piece will completely agree with this statement. There are many meetings which end with the scheduled date for next meeting. The main objective of meetings is value creation, but due to excessive time spent on meetings it fails to add any value.
You will realize there are layers in the organization who are involved in just conducting meetings without any outcome and consider this as an effective way of management. Management layer should ideally be involved in planning, executing work or removing roadblock, there should be minimum time spent on meetings. But in reality, the management spends most of the time conducting or attending meetings. Most activities are left to the lower layer of the organization to perform with minimum or no support from management.
Even the top management places a huge emphasis on meetings. In many of the meetings, participants who are not required are invited and are required to join.
Organizations should relook at the way meetings are done. They should place emphasis on reduction in the number of meetings conducted by the management. If companies reduce the number of unwanted meetings conducted there will certainly be huge savings in cost for the organization, also management will have time to do the actual work.
PMO or a dedicated team in all organization should be the custodian of data and information, they should be able to present data as part of meetings. One individual from the management layer should be present for clarification.
Management layer should conduct very minimal meetings, the focus should be on getting the activities done and removing the roadblocks. Management should be agile with progress update being near real-time, the meetings should be need-based and agile.
Are there ways to reduce the meetings? The answer is yes. Let’s look at how this can be done.
Ways to reduce internal meetings:
1.Invest in Collaboration Software
2.Measure the cost of meetings
3.Choose meeting-free day for the team
4.Enforce the use of meeting agenda
5.Stop attending valueless meetings
6.Block your calendar time for important tasks
7. Invite only required stakeholders for the meeting
Management has too many layers of managers, who conduct meetings and are less involved in the actual activities.
All of us have experienced this, whenever there is an issue there are more managers added to resolve the issue, unfortunately, the focus of the manager is to conduct more meetings. There is less focus on adding people at the actual execution layer to resolve the issue.
Managers should ideally spend most of their time on the below activities-
Making Decisions – Managers must decide how to make the best use of the resources available and negotiate for the resources that they need. Managers may have to make decisions about what changes should be made, and they often have to react to unplanned events.
Gathering and Distributing Information – Managers have to identify and gather all of the necessary information that they need. Much of this information may also have to be passed on to others.
Using Interpersonal Skills – Managers need to interact closely with people inside and outside of the organization. As leaders, they must direct their teams to meet organizational objectives. They may also have to represent their department or their company to the external world.
If you’re a middle manager, it’s likely that about 35%-40% of your time is spent on meetings and if you’re in upper management, it can be a whopping 50% and above. What’s worse is how unproductive these meetings as part of governance usually are.
The idea behind writing this article is to bring the focus back on the actual work of the management, and to reduce unwanted meetings conducted by the management.