Work Less, Have More Fun, Keep Superstar Employees

The Success Margin

Monday, October 10, 2005


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.


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 ineptat 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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