In my previous life as a manager, then a corporate executive, I made a curious observation: I noticed myself staying later and later at my job, as I climbed the rungs of seniority. I used to stay until 8:00 PM, 9:00 PM or even 11:00 PM to “catch up” on urgent tasks. I thought it came with the territory of being more and more important. But then I thought “Wait a minute. My two young kids are paying for this.”. On investigation, I discovered the innocent but insidious culprit: The Meeting. Like a chump, I’d been duped into one meeting after the other, thinking that “back to back meetings” were a badge of seniority. I then realized that all my productive work began at the end of my workday: when my children were fast asleep.
I left my last corporate job and co-founded Red Dot 19 months ago, and entrepreneurship has really helped me rethink the value of every single minute of my day: I wish that I had reached this level of time consciousness earlier, and that I now can bring more people along with me on this journey.
At Red Dot, we believe that our country needs to focus on growth more than ever before, and that, equipped with innovative and entrepreneurial mindset and methodologies, any organisation or individual has the potential to thrive and actively contribute to the growth of the local economy. However, there is a catch there: people in Mauritius always seem to be too busy to strategize, to think about growth, to innovate!
When I ask them why, our leaders reply: “I’m a professional meeting-goer. I am stuck in meetings all day/ all week/ all month!”, “we always stay longer than expected in meetings, and then we have to reschedule completely our calendar for the day!” or “frequent but useless meetings that stops me from doing our real work”.
Indeed, much recent research shows that managers spend between 35% to 50% of their time in meetings (and that doesn’t even include all impromptu gatherings that don’t make it into the schedule), while roughly 50% of all meetings are considered wasteful or unproductive. Moreover, it has been proven that time spent in “bad” meetings is seriously impeding the motivation, creativity and productivity of teams.
Meetings should be like salt- a spice sprinkled carefully to enhance a dish, not poured recklessly over every forkful. Too much salt destroys a dish. Too many meetings destroy morale and motivation. – Jason Fried
Reading this, one might argue: “why don’t we start by simply reducing the number of meetings?” The way out of this “meetings trap” is to ask a simple, powerful, yet difficult and rare question: “Should we even have this meeting?”.
To help you answer this question, we have designed a useful poster to put at your desk, or on the walls of your meeting rooms, and we strongly invite you to download, print and use this poster with your teams! You can also reach out to us for our upcoming Run Great Meetings public workshops.
Hey, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying all meetings are useless. There are indeed many great meetings I have been attending in my career, and particular since we started Red Dot, at the end of which everyone feels energised, with clarity of mind, and total readiness for action: for example, Creative Brainstorming meetings, or Problem-Solving meetings, when they are thoroughly prepared, well run and timed. In those kinds of meetings, I never leave the room with the impression of having wasted my oh-so-precious time.
Now, take a few minutes, and imagine you had a magic wand that could erase all useless meetings from your calendar for the next 12 months. What would your life look life? What would you do with the spared time? What if your could keep in your calendar only exciting, engaging and impactful meetings that would boost and empower your team to think big, strategize, ideate, and take your best decisions?”
This is my sincere wish for you.
Have a nice (and hopefully meeting-free) day ahead 😉