A group’s director asked me to join their meeting to see if I can listen in and find ways to help their team more productive.
The room was filled to capacity for this one-hour weekly meeting with about 25 people. The meeting went at a good clip with the director asking his staff to update them on what they were doing. Each person gave a quick update for the whole room to hear and to ask questions. The mood was fun and lite and it seemed that most people appreciated the meeting.
There were a number of things in the meeting that caught my attention. One of them was someone reporting that they finally got the OK to hire a part-time person to help her.
Afterward I asked the director, “What is the purpose of this meeting?” “It is to get a report on what everyone is doing, to have them hear each other’s report, and to build team togetherness.”
Afterward I interviewed a number of the employees who were at the meeting and a few who had skipped the meeting.
The meeting was the issue. No one wanted to go to the meeting. They were only going because they felt obligated. The consensus was that they had better things to do with their time. And ultimately the meeting was demotivating them because they felt pressed upon, unable to choose what to do with their time and forced to be inefficient.
We created a plan that allowed the goals to be fulfilled without the meeting. Each person would use their online collaborative team community to report their happenings for the week. They could read the notes of another if they were interested and be caught up in a fraction of the time. The social aspect of the meeting was fulfilled by creating more times for the employees to mingle around lunch time.
This simple fix was going to give everyone an hour back to be productive. It would also save the team $50,000 in lost productivity. This cost would easily cover the cost of the new part-time person.
Although simple, fixes like these aren’t always obvious. Often times we work certain ways because that is what we have always done. It takes someone without skin in the game to challenge conventional practices. Without it, inefficient ways of working persist and can cost teams thousands in lost productivity.