Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bad Meeting Math

Some people use their meetings as a way to gather status, in part because it's easier than getting it one by one. Consider the math of that. One leader gathers nine team members for a one hour meeting, for a total of 10 staff-hours spent, with about six minutes per person of value.

The alternative: one leader has a 15 minute 1-on-1 with each of the nine team members. That takes the leader two hours and 15 minutes with an equal amount of time from the team members, for a total of 4.5 staff-hours.

15 minutes is more than double the six minutes available for each person in the one hour meeting with less than half the time cost to the team.

If the leader is optimizing for their own time, the meeting works best. If they are optimizing for team effectiveness, 1-on-1 is the clear winner.

Of course, you might argue that everyone benefits by the shared meeting experience. That is true for some meetings, but unlikely for the typical round-table status meeting. If in doubt, ask your team if they get value from your status meetings, and ask yourself if you are holding them for your convenience or for the greater good of the team.