Meeting Expectations

18 01 2010

In a recent MyMidwest (Midwest Airlines) inflight magazine there is a story by Kimberly Douglas of FireFly Facilitation on Meeting Management.  If we look at a couple of the numbers from Douglas’ research we can begin to quantify the impact of meetings.

38,000 msft employees say that their 5.6 hours per week spent in meetings are unproductive.  That’s over 11 million hours of meetings.  Now if we say the average msft employee makes 100k per year (including benefits), that translates to ~ $50/hr.  If we do the math, that’s ~ $550 million a year in meeting costs.

Microsoft’s 2009 annual income was $58.4 billion which makes just their meeting costs roughly 1% of their annual income.  Let’s make a couple more assumptions: that half of that value is waste (more people than needed, run longer than necessary, etc) and we could reduce that by 10% which should be easy.  The result is ~ $22.5 million.  I am guessing here, but it should be worthwhile to at least try and improve upon meeting management and find some other way to leverage that $22 million.

  • What % of time do you spend in meetings?
  • Would your employees feel that meeting management and effectiveness could be improved upon?
  • What would you do with an additional 1% of your annual income?
  • In what ways could you improve meeting management?




Meeting Management & Agendas

26 03 2009
  • How much money do you spend annually on meetings?
  • Do people show up on time, follow an agenda, and end the meetings on time?
  • Do meetings regularly create and review actions?

Meetings need structure and process, yet most meetings happen because of momentum. “We always meet on Fridays as a team.” We meet to discuss and communicate. Yet this discussion is typically around individual status updates, and less about what needs to happen, or hurdles that need to be cleared.

Shouldn’t every meeting have a well defined purpose to specifically create an action. Change “meet to review project status” to “meet to analyze project performance, understand risks, and make recommendations.” Now we go from asking people to attend the meeting TO preparing the team for the meeting. Roles and tasks should be assigned and materials need to be reviewed prior to the meeting.

Here is a link to Seth Godin’s blog on the same subject – Getting Serious about your Meeting Problem