> Partnership Evolution
> Action Through Meetings
This is the 6th of 9 units of CPFOA’s Partnership Evolution
Why is it that we all seem to have a similar reaction to meetings: “Just what I need, another (expletive deleted) meeting!” This section covers some of the reasons meetings often are considered a waste of time, and how they can be run more effectively.
In February 2003, the New Hampshire Business Review reported the results of a study about meetings, which were defined as sessions involving three or more people. And the magazine’s findings were sobering:
- Employees spend 25 percent of their workweek attending meetings.
- Mid-level managers spend at least two days per week in meetings.
- Senior-level managers spend about four days per week in meetings.
- An organization’s cost per manager to attend meetings is $22,500 annually.
- A mid-sized corporation with 100 managers typically spends $2.25 million on meetings a year.
A University of South Australia study (Insight on the News Journal, November 2000) provided equally discouraging evidence about meetings. The study established that during meetings executives said they:
- daydreamed (87 percent);
- raised their voice in anger (68 percent);
- stormed out (40 percent); and
- snoozed (33 percent).
Too often leaders call meetings to make it look like something is getting done. There’s also a hidden cost for an ineffective meeting: Everyone there could have been doing something else to advance their organization’s mission and meet its bottom line.
Community partnerships exist through meetings that apparently cost little to nothing to the partnership, but actually cost members in both hard and soft dollars. So be careful. A lot of time— and cost—goes into convening a partnership meeting:
- Partners have to stop whatever they’re doing at their home-base.
- Usually, they have to travel off-site.
- They then have to assemble, conduct business and depart.
- Members return to their offices and spend time moving back into what they were doing before they left.
If you add up all those hours spent on meetings, plus staff time and logistical costs, meetings are very expensive.
Still, meetings are important. They can create opportunity. They can be a source of high creativity. They can build commitment. They especially can lead to decisions and action. So, leaders need the ability to distinguish when a meeting is necessary and when it is not.
While a partnership cannot be run without meetings, you can turn the typical reaction— “Just what I need, another (expletive deleted) meeting!”—around by making decisions to implement actions through effective meetings.
This section presents four essential strategies to ensure that all meetings work for you, not against you, each and every time:
- Know the Purpose of the Meeting
- Plan Each Meeting in Detail
- Have a Decision-making Protocol in Place
- Keep Action Minutes on Decisions, Responsibilities and Progress