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What is an effective meeting?

McKinsey – Effective meetings are all about purpose, preparation, and presentation. “…McKinsey’s experience shows that leaders may want to stop thinking about time management as primarily an individual problem and start addressing it institutionally. Increasingly, time management is an organizational issue with roots deeply embedded in corporate cultures. Unsurprisingly, the solution seems to be balance. Executives in one McKinsey survey who reported being satisfied with the way their time is allocated spent 34 percent of their working time interacting with external stakeholders (including boards, customers, and investors), 39 percent in internal meetings (including one-on-ones with direct reports, leadership team meetings, and other employee gatherings), and 24 percent working alone. Here are five ways to achieve optimal balance in allocating time:

  1. Have a ‘time leadership’ budget—and a process for allocating it. When adding a project or initiative, companies should analyze how much leadership attention, guidance, and intervention each will need. In our experience, this is the best way to move toward the goal of treating leaders’ time as a finite resource—one that is as precious as a company’s financial capital.
  2. Consider time when you introduce organizational change. Understanding the time required to achieve goals is critical to the long-term success of any organizational change. The hours needed to manage, lead, or supervise an employee can leave managers with little time left over. Getting this balance right can be tough—having too few managers could lead them to feel overwhelmed, with more direct reports than they can manage. But having too many managers can cause redundancies and unnecessary complexity.
  3. Ensure that individuals routinely measure and manage their time. Time analysis exercises can yield surprising results—and can inspire time management that more closely aligns with organizational priorities. Including time-related metrics in performance reviews is another driver of behavioral change.
  4. Refine the principal calendar. Revisit all standing meetings and make an honest assessment of which ones are being held out of habit and which ones are genuinely useful.
  5. Provide high-quality administrative support. In a survey of executives on how they allocate their time, 85 percent of those who considered themselves effective time managers reported that they received strong support in scheduling and allocating time. Only 7 percent of ineffective time allocators said the same. In the case of one global chemical company, the administrative assistant of the CEO considers it her responsibility to ensure that the organization’s strategic objectives are reflected in the way she allocates the CEO’s time…”

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