Return on Time Invested

Mathis Christian
Feb 17, 2019 · 3 min read

#Meeting #Culture #QuickWin #TimeInvest

The “Return On Time Invested” method serves as an easy & quick indicator, when the invested time for a meeting adds value.


We have too many meetings with low or no value.

Too often, I entered a company and asked for a list of all current regular meetings. The list often contained an incredibly high number of meetings. If your company has 100+ people, I promise you that most of the CEOs and middle management don’t have a clue about how many meetings are taking place nor did they ever notice or act on signs like the following:

  • All meeting rooms are blocked 8 hours, 5 days a week.
  • Many employees are complaining about meetings with 10+ people without value and top management doesn’t know so many meetings exist.

Introducing the ROTI method the right way helped to get rid of low-value meetings - as long as top management is committed to it.

Real life example

In a 500+ people company with 200 regular meetings (1 on 1 excluded), we agreed with the top management to introduce the ROTI method:

If the meeting is (still) rated “three (3)” or below after the third evaluation, the meeting owner had to cancel it. Period.

After six weeks (many bi-weekly meetings) we got down to 120 meetings and most people have been very thankful. Many of those meetings really improved as meeting owners started to ask the attendees how to improve and changed meeting culture for good.

How to use “Return on Time Invested”?

  1. Have your meeting.
  2. By the end of the meeting, the meeting owner asks the attendees to evaluate anonymously if time spent at the meeting was well invested compared to anything else they could have done or where they could have been at the time:
  3. On a scale from 1 to 5:

1 = I should have been somewhere else. No value was added so far for me.

5 = Thank you for your invite, it was a very good meeting. I felt that I received the maximum value. On just the right level, I received information, decided, learned, got challenged, saw, experienced or understood.

Also, let the attendees write feedback on to their evaluation:

What could the meeting owner do so that the time of a meeting is a good investment for you?

4. The meeting owner acts on the feedback.


  • Why anonymous feedback?
    It gives everyone the ability to vote without being confronted with the meeting owner. The meeting owner could be the boss of some participants.
  • Can we use ROTI just as a team or part of an organization?
    Yes. Bottom up is working perfectly fine.
  • Why a digital tool?
    The ROTI is a common method and it’s (a easy to use) common practice to use flipcharts and let the participants scribble on the chart when they leave the room. In times of the internet, I always searched for a simple web app to accelerate the method used by my clients. For startup clients, it’s more natural to do everything online.
    If you have to consider the working council (Hallo Deutschland), you can be sure that no personal data will be used and nobody will be personally evaluated. You may name the meeting - you don’t evaluate the owners work performance. It’s a 100% work council proof *yeah*.
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