When most meetings are of no use

Meetings rarely move things forward. The real decisions are made by two or three people, over coffee or whisky, the rest is storytelling.

The cost and inefficiency of meetings

Most meetings are useless. You know it, your leaders know it, everyone knows it, but everyone pretends to believe that these sequences of meetings, videos and calls contribute to the creation of value while consuming time and energy and generating extreme levels of stress. Have you ever calculated the astronomical cost per minute of executive committees where nothing is decided and no current affairs move forward (except by saying that it is urgent to create a dedicated task force) if we add the salaries of these ladies and gentlemen of the executive department (for – expensive – example)?

In reality, a team can meet while standing up; everyone knows their files and can inform others. We review the green, orange and red lights, in half an hour or less. No tables, no chairs, no tricks or lengthy chats. Then why do we keep going?

The age of the “Manager”

In the old ages of management, around the 1950s onwards, there were no meetings. The Boss spoke, we executed. Period.

Meetings were later born with the rise of “Managers”, middle-level “Senior Executives” and a new kind of management offering leader roles to people with – or without – leadership skills being given a “how-to” set of processes to follow.

From that time, there was a multiplication of meetings and the development of a new organisational craze: the “reunion overload”.

The Kingdom of meetings

A process that moved from involving larger chunks of the company in business decisions – if only to listen and comply – to, these days, a theatrical court holding to count friends and keep enemies in check.

Nowadays, in large companies, meetings are first and foremost a court function. We’re here to show ourselves. The guests come to check-in, have a laugh at the projected figures and defend the interests of their tribe.

You will need to learn to master the behind-the-scenes discussion that allows you to make all decisions before meetings, the latter reducing them to their political and scripted dimension. The real decisions are made by two or three people, over coffee or whisky, the rest is storytelling.

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