Thursday, June 21, 2007

Reduce the costs of your staff meetings

You are probably thinking that I am going to suggest that you buy donut 'holes' for meetings instead of donuts because they are cheaper. Not this time. I was recently cc'd on an email from a CEO client of mine who called for a staff meeting in several days' time with everyone in his 2o-person firm. On the surface, this would not seem to be out of the ordinary - but this CEO doesn't have scheduled staff meetings because he is rarely in the office so when he calls an ad hoc meeting, it's an event. So what is the cost of this meeting and more importantly, how and why is it more expensive than it needs to be?

This CEO never includes an agenda or even a topic for his meetings. So what happens? People talk...and talk...and talk. What is the meeting about? Are we in some sort of financial trouble? Are we being bought? Sold? Merged? Is someone leaving? Who is it? The amount of lost time that the staff spends on speculating about the topic of the meeting amounts to several times the actual time spent in the meeting.

The simplest way to avoid creating an opportunity for staff to chat idly about what may or may not happen in a meeting is to explain in one sentence why you are having the meeting and what the participants in the meeting will come away with at the end. Be as specific as possible. Treat it as you would treat a meeting with a client.

Use some of the money you save in staff time to buy donuts for the meeting!

All the best,

Frank A. Stasiowski, FAIA

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