“Yo, can I consume 1/8th of your day?” I often think that this should preface a meeting request. Think about it. An hour-long meeting is a huge percentage of the typical work day. And if meetings aren’t productive or involve multiple team members, they can lead to a huge loss of productivity.
At Marxent, our culture isn’t about cool décor, perks, or dress code (sorry, hipsters). Our culture is our operating system and the underlying framework, relationships, processes, and routines that we support or eschew. Because we’re in a business that commands a lot of team work but also requires significant time for individual contributors to focus on their work, how we meet and collaborate is one of the most important parts of our operating system. When it comes to meetings, we follow these five rules.
- 15 minute morning stand-ups by team. What you did yesterday, what you’re doing today and hours left on key deliverables. Minimal chit chat.
- Keep mornings free for work. Meetings are to be scheduled in the afternoon if at all possible. Everybody is smarter and more productive in the morning, so protect “the zone.”
- Short, sweet and respecting time. Meetings are scheduled to be 30 minutes or less. And it is perfectly acceptable to schedule a 15-minute meeting. If you schedule an hour meeting you basically just asked for 1/8th of a person’s day. Do you really need that much of their time? Clients and partners also appreciate 30 minute meetings. Don’t just schedule an hour meeting because it is the calendar’s default meeting span. Respect the time of co-workers and clients. Period.
- Advise and move forward. Do you really need a meeting? Underlying the need not to meet is an “advise and move forward” decision making process. If you need to make a decision, simply advise your boss or peers of the decision you’re making and ask for feedback within 24 hours. Let them know that if you don’t hear back, you’re moving forward.
- Give a little praise, get a little praise. We use weekly “top 3” meetings that allow everyone in the company to hear a bit from each employee. Everybody shares their top three accomplishments and usually gives recognition to others on their team for their contributions. This is a great way to share important happenings, to celebrate accomplishments and for individuals and managers to increase their visibility or the visibility of their team members in the company.
If you like to get things done, we hope that you’ll join us.
Beck Besecker is the CEO of Marxent.