Say the word "meeting" and most people break out in hives.
When it comes to boring and unproductive meetings, churches and ministry are often the worst offenders.
Certainly every organization must have meetings in order to plan, strategize and communicate. So the question is how does the world's most productive and innovative companies tackle the problem of badly managed meetings? Or in other words, let's ask the question, "What Would Google Do?"
Google’s Marissa Mayer was recently interviewed by Business Week. In the interview, she described her own methodology for dealing with the 70+ meetings she needs to attend each week.
Here are Mayer’s six key principles for running productive meetings:
1. Set a firm agenda. Mayer believes agendas provide focus and help participants find routes towards achieving a particular goal.
2. Assign a note-taker. Mayer’s meetings tend to use multiple displays to project presentation slides, a live transcript of the meeting and a ticking stopwatch! Each element provide focus, and crucially a record, enabling non-attendees to stay informed.
3. Carve out micro-meetings. Mayer routinely divides larger meetings into smaller 5-10 minute blocks to highlight particular subject areas. This enables agendas to remain flexible, but disciplined, and also allows wide-ranging discussions to occur.
4. Hold office hours. Each day, for 90 minutes at 4PM, Mayer holds court with colleagues in her own office. Coworkers can choose a slot on a first-come-first-serve basis. Incredibly, she’s able to get through up to fifteen meetings in these periods.
5. Discourage politics, use data. To avoid showing favoritism and to minimise office politics, Mayer insists all decisions are driven by performance-based metrics and analytics. (This approach has caused some controversies, as related by former design director Douglas Bowman.)
6. Stick to the clock. The “ticking clock” mentioned earlier might sound draconian, but is apparently a source of levity at meetings, exerting a subtle motivation, but also underlining a precious commodity in a busy organization.
What are some of your tips and best practices for leading meetings?