3 Reasons Why Meetings Are the Most Significant Part of Your Company’s Culture

In my work designing and changing organization’s cultures, it’s impossible to ignore this blatant trend across all my data: meetings are a real issue in businesses today.

We know that meetings can be annoying, sure. But that’s just a feeling we have. Below are the quantifiable results I discovered that led to this conclusion: meetings are one of the most important things that happen in your business when it comes to company culture.

1. How your meetings work reflects how your business really works

Corporate culture design begins with an assessment of over 40 core indicators of employment experience. From that, I am able to run a predictive analysis of corporate culture. Just like when you’re online and a company offers you a product they know you already want: people operate in predictable patterns. I specialize in understanding and redesigning these patterns.

Time and time again, I discover that the quality and quantity of an organization’s meetings is a predictive factor for at least three and often five other core behavioral patterns that normatively govern your organization.

To summarize these patterns, people are shaped by group behaviors. When an employee experiences ineffective meetings, it makes them less effective in other areas of work. Not just the lost time from that meeting, but in their mindset and in their coworker interactions.

The opposite is also true. Effective meetings are significant predictors of communication styles and coworkers’ ability to deliver and receive constructive feedback.

Every meeting that happens inside your business every day can either boost performance, or act as ground zero for performance drain.

2. Meetings are a significant factor in employee engagement

You have an explicit contract with your employees: you give me performance and I give you a paycheck. But there’s an implied contract as well: you bring your amazing performance to my team, I give you a reason to care. At least, that’s the deal with organizations that have strong corporate cultures.

It’s this implied contract that governs our current disengagement epidemic. Gallup reports that 70% of all employees are either passively or actively disengaged in their work. In my experience, this statistic is far ranging by industry and customer base, but that’s a topic for a different article.

Meetings can create employee disengagement as effectively as a bad boss can create disengagement.

An engaged employee can only withstand so many useless hours lost to meetings before they either burn out from catching up on work on nights/weekends, they find another job, or they give into the schedule drain caused by ineffective meetings and simply disengage.

Above are the three major outcomes of cultures with ineffective meetings. The data is far too compelling not to rethink your next group sit-down.

3. Meeting outcomes are creative outcomes, and creative outcomes are a business imperative

The people interactions are where the real magic happens inside of your business. Not just the operational stuff, but the human, creative, emotional stuff inside a meeting. Its hard to quantify the quality of a project until you watch it fail or succeed. What you can quantify, however, is whether people are willing, able and focused in the right ways to create meaningful things inside of your organization. You desperately need more meaningful collaboration inside your business. Every business. You won’t get what you really need from meetings by setting up a calendar invitation.

My point is, you desperately need meetings. Don’t just throw them out or continue them in status quo. Treat them with kindness, care, and design them for effectiveness.

Jessica Higgins is a public speaker, strategic consultant, published author and advisor on creating end-to-end culture design solutions in healthcare, higher education, governments and large corporations. She is the Chief Operating Officer of Gapingvoid Culture Design Group, of which she developed and manages the only end-to-end culture design consulting practice in existence. She and her team work with Microsoft, Zappos, Roche, AT&T, Pfizer, L’Oreal, US Bank, Babson College, and many others. She is an expert in the field of Lean Six Sigma with specialty in systems design for sustainable growth. She holds a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma, a Juris Doctor in law, a Masters in Business Management, and a Bachelors degree in Behavioral Psychology.