There are companies that dominate the process of managing meetings. But there are companies where the questions about the productivity of meetings are simply lost battle. Bad habits are common, maybe due to ignorance or lack of “corporate culture”, causing a waste of time and using more resources than necessary.
Calling the things by their name, if a meeting is handled badly, it’s a waste. We are devoting more resources than necessary to an activity that does not generate any value for the customer. If we save costs in other areas, Why we don’t try to solve the classical meeting problems?
A meeting management process to rule them all
In small and medium business, meetings are managed in different ways. It depends on the person or the particular department habits, or “maybe… the weather”. In addition, many companies have tools to support and manage meetings (shared spaces and groups, appointments,…) but they rarely are used or used at all. Something is wrong when this happens.
If you want to manage effective meetings, you need to establish a process. It’s all benefits, allowing to put all the work under control and avoid waste time and money: all the people following the same procedure to rule them all. It’s a question of value. Some examples of the benefits are:
- People make better use of time: avoiding standby losses or spend more than necessary in meetings.
- Resources are better managed: i.e. meeting rooms or equipment.
- A better information management: i.e. using a shared workspace you can avoid problems with document versions.
- It’s possible to know the cost of a meeting and charge it to a project or a business area.
- You can know what decisions should be taken in any meeting.
- The information related to a past meeting can be consulted at any time: what decissions and agreements were approved, who is responsible of a certain task, times for work execution…
A brief meeting: a great impact tool
I was fortunate to work for years in a SME automotive business where every day was programmed a short brief meeting at 10:15. Manufacturing manager, heads of each working cell and process engineers met every day at 10:15 in a special meeting room. If was necessary, we require people from other areas. We were all standing and the ground was marked our position, all around the leader.
In this brief meeting, during 15 minutes or 30 maximum, we use to review the manufacturing results in each cell, according with the objectives, and we also use to discuss the problems that we can find when working. All quickly. If the situation in a cell was controlled, then we reviewed the next area, otherwise, we use to open a special line of work to solve the problems.
This brief meeting was really a powerful tool. Why? Because it allow us to pursue goals individually for each cell and to coordinate the different teams too, and also to pursue global objectives. We can see how it was going in other areas, and we can help to our manufacturing partners when they had difficulties in other cells. It also allow us to acquire the company’s overall vision, to “team up”, to avoid complacency and to learn from the work of others.