Meetings are not in and of themselves problematic. They are essential to teams and organizations. Without meetings, organizational democracy, inclusion, participation, buy-in, communication, attachment, teamwork, coordination and cohesion would all be compromised. What we need to rid ourselves of are unnecessary or unproductive meetings that waste time.
Sadly, most companies and most leaders view poor meetings as inevitable, because they don’t know of better ways to conduct them, or they try new methods that don’t stick, as they really are not founded on any scientific evidence of success. Also, bad meetings beget more bad meetings, as dysfunctional practices become normative across the organization. Taken together, poor meetings become accepted as a way of life and a natural cost of doing business, like rain is a way of life in London. But, unlike the weather, meetings can indeed be improved.
Drawing on more than 15 years of original research I have conducted on the topic of meetings with my team, surveying and interviewing thousands of employees from hundreds of organizations, as well as drawing from a large number of evidence-based sources, my goal is to translate the science to bring direction, guidance and relief to those leading and participating in meetings.
While many people I meet are surprised to hear that there are social and organizational scientists who study meetings, this research has produced large numbers of scientific publications, conference presentations, book chapters, dissertations, and extensive media coverage.
And, of most relevance here, this science has produced insights and practical applications that can directly benefit executives and organizations by promoting efficiency, productivity, increased innovation and employee engagement, superior decisions, enhanced commitment to initiatives, better communication, and a greater sense of camaraderie across the workforce.
Bad meetings can drain the life out of individuals and organizations....
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