Why Rarely Having Meetings Is a Sign of Success

Possible
Possible
Sep 8, 2015 · 2 min read

By Mark Arnoldy

Meetings are deceptive.

Like email, we wear the number of them we have as a busy badge of honor.

Also like email, being a part of them makes us feel important.

And worst all of, just like email, the temptation to “cc” — or use a meeting as a venue to merely inform — is ever-present and usually leads to distraction, dilution, and wasted time.

It’s this last point that gets us in the most trouble.

There’s simple math behind meetings that is paradoxically both obvious and elusive for so many of us: If you have a one-hour meeting with 10 people that is a waste of time, that’s not just your hour that’s lost. It’s 10 organizational hours.

That’s 1/4 of a full-time employee’s workweek.

Low-value meetings come at a tremendous time cost — perhaps the most costly lost time category in your entire organization. As a result, it’s no surprise the most productive employees often say meetings are the least favorite part of their day.

So what’s the solution?

I’m not a complete anti-meeting maniac. I do believe meetings can work, and they are extremely important in certain instances (like weekly one-on-ones with team members you manage). But we also need to be wary of the low-value temptations they create.

At Possible we’ve created four principles to make sure meetings do what they’re best designed for: creating clarity and spurring collaboration.

Here are those principles:

You’ll know you have a culture of less meeting and more doing when people are fighting to cancel meetings and leverage highly effective, concise communications mechanisms like Asana instead.

I love when I see that fight. It shows me those team members are excited to create value and set an extremely high bar for protecting their time. This post is dedicated to those committed to that fight for less meeting and more doing.


See how Possible’s fight to meet less and do more impacts our patients in one of the world’s most impossible places:

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