Leadership Caffeine-4 Big Reasons to Kill Your Weekly Status Meeting

image of a coffee cupFew events do more to suck the life and energy out of a team than the boss’s weekly status meeting. If you are the boss, it’s time to exorcise these from your operating routine.

These forced marches around the table offering up banal or purely self-aggrandizing updates are energy and time sinks and serve no purpose other than compensating for the boss’s inability to figure out what’s going on in some form other than holding court.

In addition to draining the lifeblood from your team, here are 4 additional reasons to consider killing the weekly status meeting:

1. Value of Time. Time is precious, and the hour wasted listening to silo-talk is an hour (times the number of participants) you’ll never get back. Use technology to communicate status…use meetings to ideate, innovate and focus on solving problems.

2. The Pain Goes Away When You Stop. The slow, plodding round-table status update is INCREDIBLY painful for everyone involved. If you’ve hired properly, everyone in that meeting wants to be sprinting through their work days and you’ve reduced the pace to a crawl for what seems like an eternity. I guarantee you the only two things on anyone’s mind is, “So and so is full of it with that update,” and “When the #4%@ is the pain going to end?

3. Holding Court Ain’t Leading. If you require your team to convene simply to understand what is going on, you missed the memo on how to engage with your team members in the ordinary course of business. Try getting out from behind your desk and into the workplace more to learn what’s really happening.

4. Your People Shouldn’t Need this Meeting to Work Together. If your team and functional leaders aren’t talking to each other outside of this meeting, you’re failing as a leader. Set expectations for information sharing and collaboration in the workforce and hold people accountable for actually doing it.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

I’m all for connecting and collecting in groups for the right reasons. The boss’s status meeting is rarely the right reason. Build a culture of meeting by exception or, better yet, create a culture where people meet spontaneously when the stakes are ideas, innovation and solving problems that impact customers. If the meeting is simply for you to hold court and catch up, it’s wrong.

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Art Petty is a Chicago-based management consultant focusing on strategy and leadership development. Art regularly speaks on innovation in management and leadership, and his work is reflected in two books, including the recent, Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development.  Art publishes regularly at The Management Excellence blog at http://artpetty.com

Prior to his solo career, Art spent 20+ years leading marketing sales and business units in systems and software organizations around the globe. You can follow Art on twitter: @artpetty and he can be reached via e-mail at art.petty@artpetty.com

 

Comments

  1. i’d have to agree. When I first started my management career I swore off meetings as one begot another and yet another. They’re typically never conducive to success and can disrupt work flow.

    I prefer to conduct mico-meetings. In my line of work, like most of us meetings are informationaland typically there isn’t much to talk about and so topics are created to fill the void and time scheduled.

    If need be, I’ll meet up with two or three employees at a time and have brief & personal interactions. This accomplishes the goal of assessing a project’s progress and maintaining brevity allows work to proceed without disruption.

  2. Couldn’t agree more. Recently I worked at a company that had DAILY meetings that lasted between 45 and 90 minutes, not to mention time devoted to preparing for meetings. That’s pain times 5! What a waste.

  3. Number 3 is right on the money! It’s so true it hurts that people don’t realize this.

    • Art Petty says:

      Ken, let’s stop the pain! I love working/meeting with people, just not in that format. Thanks for stopping by. -Art

  4. I don’t know. We have one meeting a week where the status of projects is updated. Usually lasts less than an hour. It’s time when we can all ask questions, make suggestions, and enjoy the humor of our circumstances. Not a problem for me.

  5. Different things work for different people and, occasionally, meetings help in nailing down an agreement on a contentious issue that has been bandied back and forth over email for days. Having said that, there are enough examples that I have seen that agree with your line of thinking. I write a blog on corporate situations (satirical) where a number of situations pertain to farcical meetings. Here are a couple of them :
    http://darkofficehumour.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/misusing-company-resources-2-meeting-rescheduled-finally/
    http://darkofficehumour.wordpress.com/2011/12/31/very-important-person-conducts-a-meeting/

  6. Herb Chang says:

    Meetings are a valuable tool to keep your staff aware of what is going on in the other parts of the organization. As long as we keep it short and to the point, it works great. We find it useful. If it doesn’t work for your organization, don’t do it.

    There is nothing wrong to keep the human contact. We are not robots.

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