top view photo of people near wooden table

Meetings are a symptom, not the problem itself

This article was based on the interview with Jack Skeels of AgencyAgile by Greg Kihlström, Marketing Technology keynote speaker for The Agile Brand with Greg Kihlström podcast. Listen to the original episode here:

Meetings are often seen as a necessary evil in the workplace. They can be time-consuming, unproductive, and sometimes even counterproductive. However, meetings are not the problem themselves, but rather a symptom of underlying issues within the organization. The real issue lies in poor briefings, inadequate scoping, lack of alignment among stakeholders and managers, and other factors that lead to the need for meetings in the first place.

The podcast suggests that organizations often fall into the trap of thinking that managerial interactions, such as meetings, are essential for productivity. However, every managerial interaction actually costs productivity. This mindset can lead to a culture where meetings are called without a clear purpose or agenda, resulting in wasted time and resources. Instead of focusing on managing every aspect of the organization, the podcast advocates for a shift in thinking towards empowering employees to be in productive mode and getting the work done efficiently.

The example of the assembly line manager calling a meeting and seeing a decrease in productivity highlights the negative impact that unnecessary meetings can have on the overall performance of a team or organization. When meetings are used as a band-aid solution for deeper issues, they can actually hinder progress rather than facilitate it.

To address this issue, the podcast suggests rethinking the role of managers in the organization. Rather than solely focusing on promoting the best performers and maintaining a hierarchical structure, the podcast proposes a more collaborative approach to career growth. This involves viewing career progression as a way of supporting and empowering others within the organization, rather than climbing the corporate ladder for personal gain.

Furthermore, the podcast touches on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in organizations. By integrating DEI initiatives into the unmanaged approach, organizations can create a more inclusive and equitable work environment that values and respects the diverse perspectives and experiences of all employees.

The concept that “meetings are a symptom, not a problem” challenges organizations to rethink their approach to managerial interactions and streamline their processes for greater efficiency. By addressing underlying issues that lead to the need for meetings, empowering teams to work collaboratively, and prioritizing productivity over managerial control, organizations can create a more productive and successful work environment.