I saw two very interesting things:
- Some company employees complain that they always have meetings during the day and get overwhelmed… In the evening I have time to do my real work;
- On the other hand, the boss likes to let everyone know before the end of the day that a meeting will be held in the evening. Even the team has developed such a tacit understanding and culture that it is normal to call and organize meetings at night. Called the “nightclub”.
In short, it’s easy to fill the 996 lives of employees. And I would say, if your company sees [nightclubs] as the norm, my advice is: stay away!
It means either your company is inefficient or your leaders are ruthless.
Management guru Peter Drucker once famously said, “Meetings are by definition a concession to deficient organization. For one either meets or one works.” The phrase “a deficient organization” vividly Drucker’s point.
In an ideal organization (or an unrealistic dream), there would be no need for meetings. Everyone would know what they need to know to do their jobs. Everyone would have the resources they need to complete their tasks. Meetings are necessary because the knowledge and experience required for specific situations cannot be obtained by one person alone, but must be pieced together by the knowledge and experience of several people.
Drucker went on to add that meetings are “a symptom of low-performance organizations. We should know that the fewer meetings, the better.” Apple’s current CEO, Tim Cook, shares the same view. He said, “As a leader, you need to understand: the longer the meeting, the less you can accomplish.”
So when I see companies busy working during the day and busy holding “nightclubs” at night, my basic judgment is that the organization’s efficiency is not high, and meetings are needed to make up for it. Of course, from another perspective, one can also see that there is a lot of room for improvement in organizational and meeting efficiency.
The topic of “ruthless leadership” generally has two underlying reasons. One is that leaders need to make themselves and their teams seem very busy. The other is that they really don’t see their employees as “people.”
Charlotte Wellington, in an article on his public account titled “The company’s biggest internal friction is nurturing a group of pseudo-executives,” noted that the first characteristic of pseudo-executives is “endless meetings”. He said, “The company’s biggest internal friction is that leaders are obsessed with holding endless meetings with no strategy or output. I call it packaging oneself as busy and valuable through meetings, while dragging the entire team to play along.”
The topic of “whole-person perspective” is particularly important in the field I work in, whether it’s about [reshaping organizations] or [creating teal organizations]. What it means is that whether it’s the organization, the leaders, or the employees themselves, they must first view themselves as people. People have multi-level needs, and work and life are a part of them. People in the workplace should not just live in fear, exploitation, or empty slogans.
So to summarize, if a company always holds “nightclubs,” we need to first distinguish whether it is due to low work efficiency or low meeting efficiency, or whether the leaders are just putting on a show or habitually squeezing us.
Today, I can provide an antidote for the former. As for the latter, we need to look through the organization’s top level, such as the organizational assumptions (whether it is Theory X or Theory Y), leadership principles, and corporate culture.
Firstly, we need to build the company’s meeting system.
If we view “meetings” as a management system within the organization (such as performance systems, promotion systems, goal management systems), how should this system be constructed?
We need to answer the following questions:
- The necessity of holding meetings: How do the meetings in the company support business development and organizational development?
- What are the purposes of these meetings, and have we achieved the expected outcomes?
- Who should attend these meetings, and who shouldn’t?
- What are the agendas and methods for these meetings?
- What are the basic principles and core methods used to make meetings efficient?
The value of doing so is to help us kill off unnecessary meetings and the people who don’t need to attend them from a top-down perspective.
Secondly, both process control and result management should be emphasized during the meeting.
The pace of the meeting should be based on the agenda, and interruptions and off-topic discussions should be prevented while promoting team dialogue. The team should also be constantly encouraged to generate conclusions and outcomes, as well as decide on next steps.
- Set a specific time limit for each agenda item for the meeting, and start a countdown once the meeting begins. Note that this is not for the entire meeting, but for each individual agenda item.
- Each agenda item must focus on producing a conclusion, and this conclusion should be recorded and documented.
- Categorize the conclusions into:
- Action items
- Consensus items
- Decision items
- Lessons learned
- Thirdly, rules should be established to regulate the organization and arrangement of the meeting.
While late-night meetings may be necessary for urgent matters or during busy work periods, it is important for the team to establish guidelines as to when and for what topics these meetings can be scheduled.
Additionally, other management regulations can be implemented such as limiting decision-making meetings to 7 people or less and setting maximum meeting times, such as 1 hour for regular meetings and 2 hours for discussion meetings.
You may ask if this is reliable. Most of the discussions and decision-making meetings cannot be ended within two hours. I would like to say that this method is reliable. When we start to care about and be sensitive to the time spent in meetings, we are forced to find better meeting methods to carry out more efficiently within the two-hour time frame.
Many companies are still indulging in the belief that holding lengthy meetings is an indication of team dedication, diligence, and combat effectiveness. Wake up from this!
Author: Olivia Rosewood
Expert in leadership and communication with over 20 years of experience.
Dedicated to helping entrepreneurs, executives, and team members improve their leadership and communication skills, thereby achieving personal and team success.