Kathy has a comprehensive understanding of our customers, products, and most importantly, our business. So when we needed to accelerate a product launch, I asked her to serve as the project manager to guide our team through the process. A few weeks into the project, when I saw that the job seemed daunting to her, I suggested she attend a project management seminar. We chose Fundamentals of Project Management, a seminar offered by Fred Pryor Seminars. In a few days, Kathy learned a variety of tips and procedures that not only drove the project to an on-time/on-budget completion, but left her with a some very effective techniques for getting things done quicker and better.
One such technique helped overhaul my Monday-morning staff meeting. Call me old fashioned, but I still believe that the best way to set the week in motion is with a meeting of all the business managers to align their efforts and communications. Unfortunately, the one-hour time slot frequently runs over, which disrupts the day. Realizing this, Kathy came to me before this Monday’s meeting with a solution.
Removing distractions like chairs improves attentiveness and intensify the job at hand.
“I know that some of the managers get upset when the staff meeting runs over,” she said. “I’ve got a way to cut the meeting down from over an hour to under 30 minutes, if you’ll let me run it today,” she added with a smile.
Feeling her confidence, I agreed and handed her the reins.
What happened next was amazing. When everyone entered the meeting room, we found there was no place to sit. Kathy had gotten with Allen in maintenance and removed all the chairs prior to the meeting. At first everyone was uncomfortable; there was no place to plop down and settle in. Yet it was that slight level of discomfort that drove the meeting to a highly productive output, in just 25 minutes. At the meeting conclusion, our company president (who occasionally succumbs to A.D.D. like many executives with a lot on their minds) commented, “Great meeting, let’s do this again!”
If you too want to get more done in less time from your meetings, try this:
1 Rise And Shine. Remove the chairs from your meeting room. At first it will seem odd not having a comfortable place to settle in with your coffee cup, iPad, and notebook. But removing these distractions will actually improve attentiveness and intensify the job at hand. You’ll be amazed at how efficient your team can be when they have to pay attention with their body as well as their minds.
2 Set Your Sights. State, in advance, what the meeting will cover and the expected outcomes. Doing so will keep narratives to a minimum and focus the attendees on exactly what they need to accomplish. You’ll notice that decisions come quicker and are typically better founded when everyone knows what is expected.
3 Fasting is Faster. The least productive meetings are working lunches. Who really believes that any quality work can get done with people eating? It doesn’t matter if you’re serving pizza, tofu, or sushi; don’t expect to get much done when folks are munching away. Your agenda is sure to be sabotaged by mayonnaise spreading and potato chip bag crumpling.
4 High Five Your Results. The best way to assure continued success is championing your accomplishments after a successful standing meeting. Once you set the expectations that meetings are to get things done, and you accomplish just that in less time, make sure that everyone is on board so the practice will continue.
Now that you know this simple, yet effective, way of getting more done in your company meetings, will you rise to the occasion too?