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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : December 18, 2014

Are your employees stifling yawns during status meetings?

When SaaS enterprise work collaboration software firm Clarizen quizzed British workers about what they thought of status meetings they were met with dry wit and a lot of yawning.

by Helen Leggatt

British workers dread status meetings. A third (36%) think they are a waste of time and 20% would rather watch back-to-back episodes of TV Christmas soap specials or watch paint dry than spend hours in a status meeting.

While many (69%) admitted that status meetings do help them to stay organized at work, most thought they took took too long and 30% they don't advance projects significantly.

Patrick Thean, a thought leader in strategic business execution, successful entrepreneur and co-founder and SEO of business coaching firm Rhythm Systems, believes changing the title of the meeting can lead to better productivity.

"If you don't do anything else, at least change the name of your meeting to a Weekly Adjustment Meeting. We don't need "death by status" anymore," writes Thean on his company's blog. "We need to discuss solutions, and make the necessary and often critical adjustments in our execution so that we can achieve the objectives for the quarter. So let's call it that!"

Thean suggests that spending more time working on solutions rather than working on status, placing more focus on the future than the past, making adjustments for success rather than reviewing what has happened and adopting a team focus rather than on individuals will transform status meetings into Weekly Adjustment Meetings.

Recent strategies to cut down on the time spent in meetings might also be adopted such as holding them while standing, giving each member a limited time-frame for presentations, banning the use of mobiles and laptops (4 out of ten of respondents to Clarizen's survey said they multi-tasked during status meetings - checking their phones and email) and, of course, crafting an agenda, circulating it before the meeting and sticking to it. Survey respondents cited ineffectual chairmanship, lack of preparation and show-boating as key reasons meetings went on longer than needed.

And how long is long? Clarizen's survey found that some meetings took all day, and 3-4 hour meetings were common.

"We call them 'bore-a-thons'," commented one respondent. "The boss talks for up to three hours. If anyone else has a good idea, she has already had it. In those three hours, which amount to a fifth of my working week, we could achieve everything mentioned AND work out how to commit the perfect murder and dispose of her body."

Another said "One hundred years. The wall clock had stopped and nobody wanted to be the first to leave".

"These results underline how much of the working day can be taken up with preparing for and attending status meetings, which then aren't an effective use of people's time," said Avinoam Nowogrodski, founder and CEO of Clarizen. "Clarizen enables workers to spend less time in meetings and on email by creating the collaboration, accountability and visibility that is needed across an entire business."

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: business culture, business meeting, status meeting, trends

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