Work Less, Have More Fun, Keep Superstar Employees

The Success Margin

Monday, October 10, 2005

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You can get more done in less time while
enjoying your work and your life far more.

Plus, you may also be able to delay or completely
avoid losing your biggest asset--superstar
employees.

How?

By doing a much better job with how you conduct
business meetings.

Who hasn't suffered the torture of sitting through
lengthy, unproductive meetings?

Everyone hates them, especially the most
productive members of your staff. Your least
productive staff members who make few
worthwhile contributions to your company are the
only ones who can possibly tolerate them.

Your meeting procedures are also a good
barometer of your company's business culture.
The best run companies are really good at
running meetings.

Poorly managed companies are universally inept
at this important and common business activity.

I believe your very best employees sooner or later
eventually get fed up coping with perhaps the
biggest time waster in today's business world.

Indeed, I submit this is the biggest hidden reason
productive employees leave you.

** For superstar companies only **

Nine tips on conducting fabulous meetings:

1. Have fewer meetings!

Many regularly scheduled group meetings are
unnecessary. Often a telephone call, memo or
e-mail will suffice and is a better solution.

Meetings involving several staff members are
very expensive. Just compute the hourly cost.
You will be amazed! Clearly, it makes economic
sense to only schedule meetings that are
absolutely necessary.

2. Limit attendance.

Invite only the people who are absolutely
necessary to the outcome of the meeting.

3. Start and stop meetings on a strict timetable.

Whether or not some people arrive late, start and
stop at the scheduled time regardless.

4. Limit the time of the meeting.

Keep most meetings to 30 minutes. Only if
absolutely necessary go to 45 minutes. In rare
cases go to 60 minutes, or 90 minutes. If a
subject is not covered within the scheduled time,
simply shelve it to the next meeting.

5. Plan the meetings carefully.

Distribute a meeting agenda at least a day in
advance. List the subjects of discussion. The
decisions which need to be made. Who is
responsible to implement the decision. The
agreed upon completion date.

6. Preparation is critical for all attendees. Ask
participants to prepare in advance for their part
of the meeting agenda.

7. Appoint a person to keep notes of the meeting.

Ideally, keeping meeting notes is a rotating
responsibility. Distribute the notes within 24
hours of the meeting. Tape record the meeting to
be sure you have a record of what transpired.
Especially important is the action to be taken.
Who has agreed to do what by when?

8. Avoid the so-called open door policy. This
is highly overrated. Do not conduct most one-on-
one meetings in your office.

Some people just don't seem to know when to
leave your work area and thus waste a lot of your
time with small talk.

Instead, stop by the employee's office. Conduct
your business. Then politely terminate the
meeting and leave. You are much more in
control of your time visiting an employee.

9. Use meeting performance as an important part
of your periodic employee evaluations.

An evaluation can be an ideal time to
communicate with an employee as to whether or
not they are "getting it" insofar as your meeting
culture.

I've observed that most small, medium and even
giant companies unnecessarily allow meetings to
waste endless hours of time of numerous
employees.

For example, I'm a shareholder in Nestle, the
world's largest food company. I also know
several top executives there and have heard them
complain about how Nestle wastes so much time
on non-productive meetings. Indeed, if
shareholders were to be made aware of how much
money is being wasted, I'm sure they would not
be pleased.

Put the nine fabulous proven meeting procedures
in place in your organization. I promise that your
company's productivity and success margin will
dramatically improve.

Your correspondent,

Ted Nicholas

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© Copyright 2005 Ted Nicholas