Pssst, want a stock tip that will make you rich? Okay, here it is: phone a public corporation and ask to speak with CEO.
If a secretary tells you that CEO expects to be busy in meetings for next six hundred years, call your broker and sell stock short. Any company unable to manage an activity that should last an hour is on its way down financial tubes.
Although itís true that senior executives spend much of their time in meetings, you can bet that a business is in trouble if their meetings are out of control.
Surveys show companies waste an average of 20% of their payroll on bad meetings. And thatís just beginning of problem. Meetings keep people away from tasks they were hired to perform -- tasks that make money for company and keep business ahead of competition.
Since bad meetings are so wasteful, you may wonder why anyone tolerates them. Unfortunately, many business leaders think that their meetings are just fine. They even believe that theyíre experts at holding effective meetings.
For example, when I phone companies to ask if they would be interested in improving their meetings, I sometimes encounter an assistant who assures me that executives believe that they hold wonderful meetings. Then assistant snickers, coughs softly, and regains enough composure to state that they donít need my services. At this point assistant sounds like someone on a sinking ship who is throwing a life jacket into water.
And that must make you wonder: why any intelligent person would hold a meeting that wastes everyoneís time and produces nothing.
There are easy answers such as 1) they donít know that their meetings could be effective, 2) they donít know what an effective meeting is like, or 3) they donít know how to hold an effective meeting.
But what about rest of them? That is, what about all of executives who know how to plan and organize and run an effective business, but still hold bad meetings?
Letís dig deeper. These executives actually want to hold bad meetings because they prove to be useful. Hereís how.
1) They provide refuge. Bad meetings provide a sophisticated form of executive busyness. Some people find this useful because it keeps them from having to work on difficult tasks such as planning, coaching, learning, and communicating. Compared to these difficult tasks, sitting in a conference room is easy. In fact, it is so easy that a six-year old could do it, assuming you could convince child to stay inside for such a pointless activity.