I hear so many amazing humans in F1000, F500, F10 companies talking about having meetings from 7 to 6, from 8 to 6… and then trying to do their “actual” work after that. Meetings are “actual” work, so let’s make sure we’re prioritizing them, and saying no or “not yet” — just like we focus our other work. (And ideally, with our other work.)
What would you see if you dumped all your meetings to a spreadsheet?
Try this format:
Column one, meeting name
Column two, meeting purpose (if a meeting doesn’t have this, you’ll want to add it)
And then… What if you stack ranked the meetings against each other? How might you prioritize?
The Top Five
Meet Chris, a product lead. They prioritized meetings starting with those critical to ensuring that their product was fit for customer love and business purpose… and that the business was fit for human growth, sustainability, and joy. (Note: They ended up with over 50 meetings for a three week period.)
- First Team Weekly Connect
Purpose: Connect as humans. Provide critical learnings and updates on our work to deliver on our quarterly strategies.
- 1:1s With Humans that Report to Me
Purpose: Connect as humans. Discuss learnings and co-create next steps towards desired personal growth and human innovation for this individual.
- 1:1 With the Human I Report to
Purpose: Connect as humans. Discuss my learnings and co-create next steps towards my desired personal growth and human innovation for me, personally.
- First Team Steering (Quarterly)
Purpose: Connect as humans, inspect results across value stream, adapt/steer our strategy, prepare to share with extended value stream team
- Extended Value Stream Team Steering (Quarterly)
Purpose: Connect as humans, inspect results across value stream, adapt/steer our strategy, update our critical change effort (critical program/initiative) kanban, plan high level efforts for the critical change efforts for the next quarter
The Lowest Five
To find the lowest five, it helped Chris to add these columns:
Column three, value I personally provide in this session.
Column four, value of this session to me/my product/my team
This made it easier to find meetings to which they could say “I’m not needed here” or “I’ll send someone else” — even meetings they could cancel altogether.
What they condensed: Numerous status meetings that had been replaced by sprint demos. Numerous small group meetings with one key stakeholder roundtable and re-prioritization meeting.
What they said “no” to: Meetings that they could send empowered team members to, instead (sometimes these team members were even already attending).
What are your top five? Lowest five? Join the conversation on LinkedIn.