Drucker said that the large organization is the pinnacle of human society. And the meeting is the primary mechanism by which the organization capitalizes on the combined efforts of its members.
A team working together creates results far exceeding the efforts of an equal number of solo artisans.
Despite its significance, meetings can feel like an organizational tax we all pay for the benefit of our colleagues' efforts. It doesn't have to be this way.
As a leader, you have a responsibility to ensure your headspace is right before your next meeting. Cynicism and the status quo will not win in the long run. Here's three areas to give your focus to as you prepare for your next meeting:
Good faith: This means the leader honors the time, talents, and perspectives of the attendees, and the attendees do what is necessary to add value. It also means that we view our coworkers as allies, not impediments or enemies.
Purpose: If the person in charge can’t articulate why this meeting is necessary (and “we’ve always had one at this time” is insufficient), and if the attendees don’t grasp why they themselves are vital to its going on (though “to be in the room when stuff gets said” is sometimes sufficient), then the meeting should be reexamined.
Bias towards action: meetings are frustrating when words are spoken, plans derived, and vision cast, yet nothing changes. The point of meetings isn’t to meet: it’s to plan, manage and report on work being done. If there are not structures in place to determine next steps, then measure and hold accountable those responsible for carrying them out, we’re all wasting our time.
Meetings can be something other than an organizational tax. I'm crazy enough to believe they can even be a source of innovation and joy. But it starts with the leader's mindset to create a culture of good faith, purpose and a bias towards action.