Did you know that the average office employee spends an average of 62 hours a month sitting in meetings, 37% of which are considered unproductive by the participants?
As a result, companies do their best to “hack” their meeting protocols. Some remove chairs to force participants to stand up the whole time, others time their meetings with bells. Some companies have a “talking stick” to try to minimize interruptions, some plan in stretching breaks midway through the meeting. The internet is full of articles with “helpful meeting hacks” that range from painfully obvious to mildly helpful to just plain bizarre. One article even recommends, in all seriousness, that workers should “Try being a total jerk rather than killing your coworkers with kindness.”
The truth is, meetings don’t have to suck. What’s broken is your meeting culture!
The fact is, throughout our careers, we’ll all be subjected to meetings that suck. Some will start late, and some will drag on for hours. Critical participants won’t show up. People will show up sleepy, unprepared, or ready to pick a fight. PowerPoint decks will be weak, people text during presentations, the list goes on and on.
The good news is, meetings don’t have to look or feel like this. In fact, I haven’t been a part of a meeting like any of those I’ve just described in a very long time. That’s no accident; it’s the result of a few really cool techniques and a solid structure!
At the company I lead, I know we’ve had our share of really bad meetings. However, as CEOs, leaders, and managers, it’s our responsibility to be self-aware when it’s happening and do something about it. We did just that at Roma. We realized that our Monday morning management meetings were not great… in fact, they sucked!
My personal philosophy is that things like meetings are either great or they suck and need work.
Meetings that suck are felt by all – You don’t have to be a CEO to recognize that. In fact, many CEOs are short-sighted and continue plodding along with the same meeting structure just because it’s what they’ve always done. They continue on in agony, dragging their bored, frustrated teams along with them.
At Roma, we had an epiphany. At the end of one particularly boring and painful Monday meeting, we looked at each other and said, there has got to be a better way to have a meeting. The first step is the realization that something has to change. The second step is making the commitment to make it happen and make it great
What we did next was pivotal – We asked each individual one question: “What would make our leadership meeting EPIC? Not great, but EPIC!” The feedback was absolutely amazing. People were excited to be asked and shared freely. After gathering the data, we held a brainstorm session that produced a really cool structure and a few rituals. We also made a commitment to become intentional in our language. It wasn’t perfect out of the gate, but it was a huge step in the right direction.
As business needs change, so too do our meetings. We continue to fine tune our meeting structure, adding and subtracting areas as we go along.
Today, our Monday morning meetings are inspirational, informative, and uplifting! We changed the name to “Our Leadership Forum”; a place to have our team share openly, without judgment or prejudice.
Teams that come together, win together. Our team meetings and huddles have become places of collaboration, places where ideas are incubated, and where our teams make magic happen.
Your team meetings don’t have to suck – Your meetings can be EPIC!
If you’re interested in learning more about our Leadership Forum structure, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for all of your continued support and love!