There are times as a manager where you will find the number of meetings you are invited to actually start get in the way of you performing your job properly.  That’s when you need to start being sensible about your approach to meetings and recognise that a lot of what your performance is measured on is not found in a meeting room.

Although meetings may feel like a thorn in your side they’re here to stay, as Christopher Frank describes over at

“Meetings are here to stay. This we must joyfully embrace. Well-organized meetings have real value.  They stimulate dialogue, create fresh thinking and move the business forward. The discipline to conduct them effectively must be developed as a core competency of your team. The question is… given the resource impact and cost, how can you quickly improve the probability of having a successful, productive meeting?”

Why have a meeting?

Business meetings, whether physically together in a room or virtually together on a video or audio conference, are about bringing people together to collaborate, share knowledge and experience that someone in the meeting (typically the organiser) will use to solve a problem.  The meeting itself doesn’t solve the problem.

The best way to make decisions is through mutations of the following process:

  1. Have a meeting & discuss issues
  2. Go away from the meeting and decide how to address those issues
  3. Discuss the action with individual stakeholders (directors, department managers etc) and address any concerns that they may harbour
  4. Announce and rubberstamp the change in the next meeting.

Decisions shouldn’t be taken lightly or in a hurry. A small decision could have big ramifications for a business, therefore it’s important all decisions are mulled over and all parties concerned are brought to agreement before they’re decided upon. Decisions that are taken that don’t have the majority in agreement over them will often backfire; if key players in your team don’t like a decision they probably won’t dig their heels in to enforce it. If all managers aren’t consistent regarding changes and new rules, there’s little chance they will have the desired effect.

Company politics

Different people in your team will share different perspectives. It’s important to understand that each member in you meeting, like each member in your team, will have different drivers and different goals to you.  If you organise a meeting to help resolve a problem you need to take the information given and use it to make an informed decision.

You will often find that you can’t get everyone in the same meeting. If this is the case you need to identify who the stakeholders are in the problem you are trying to solve, and if someone can’t make your meeting you still need to talk them through the problem and your approach to the solution.

Once you have everyone in agreement, follow up with an email to document the decision.  If everyone is saying “yes” to your proposal, you need to ask whether you really need to arrange another meeting? Or can you use that time to get on with solving the next problem? As soon as the change is “official” it can then be introduced to the rest of the workforce.

Making snap changes may be time efficient, but it really does pay off to put some extra work in to ensure that everyone’s happy with the decisions. Managers feel empowered when they get some say in what decisions are made and how they’re implemented.