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Measure Meetings With Action

While some of the greatest ideas and solutions come up in brainstorm meetings, we also lose most of our time in discussion without action.

We all have a love-hate relationship with meetings. While some of the greatest ideas and solutions come up in brainstorm meetings, we also lose most of our time in discussion without action. Ideally, meetings lead to realizations that result as action steps assigned to individuals with deadlines. Realistically, most meetings are fruitless.

As we measure the value of meetings, we must realize just how costly it is to interrupt the workflow of each team member, literally stop all progress, and consume all brainpower with one topic. Clearly, meetings must be planned sparingly. But most teams plan meetings as liberally as they buy coffee.Behance has come across a few habits of especially productive creative teams (from across industries) that we should all consider in our day-to-day work.

Beware of “Posting Meetings.”

  • A meeting to “share updates” should actually be a voice-mail or an e-mail. Rule of thumb: if you leave a meeting without action steps, then question the value of the meeting (especially if it is recurring).

Abolish Monday Meetings.

  • Gathering people for no other reason than “it’s Monday!” makes little-to-no sense, especially when trying to filter through the bloated post-weekend inbox. Automatic meetings end up becoming “posting” meetings.

End With A Review of Actions Captured.

  • At the end of a meeting, go around and review the action steps each person has captured. The exercise takes less than 30 seconds per person, and it almost always reveals a few action steps that were missed. The exercise also breeds a sense of accountability. If you state YOUR action steps in front of YOUR colleagues, then YOU are likely to follow through.

And when meetings end without any action steps, it is your responsibility to speak up and question their value. Just don’t plan a meeting to discuss it.–

This tip was written by Scott Belsky, Behance Team. Explore moretips, and check out Behance’s guest postings for small businesses trying to make ideas happen, hosted at American Express’ OpenForum.
Comments (1)
  • Steve Cullen

    Even though I HATE meetings, I might have an argument against abolishing periodic check ins, like the “mandatory Monday meeting.”

    Often creatives need to be forced to focus, and to double check what they are working on, when it’s due etc… this regular check in really helps that type of stuff. Also having regular, scheduled, check ins allows us to defer clarification moments, and announcements etc until that time allowing us to clear out the mental space by putting those thoughts on a “shelf” until they will be reviewed later.

    There’s also the most important part of the regular Monday check in: team focus. It brings people together reminds them they are part of a unit, and that there are goals and purposes to this unit. It doesn’t matter if people say they hate them. Agreed meetings should have a clear mission to them: decide things or set plans etc… but there are many intangible benefits to getting everybody together for “posting.” I’d go so far to say the more hectic and chaotic the more regular Monday meetings matter.

    Anyone else agree? Probably not.

  • Eddie O'Neill

    I tend to agree with Steves’ comments on Monday meetings particlarly if the alternative is to have people focus on filtering their inboxes..better to abolish the bloating of email than abolish a meeting that gets teams focused on priorities and actions.

  • Dave Savage

    First let me say I love your book and productivity tools.  While I totally agree that it’s critical to capture and review action items at the end of meetings.  However, having a weekly rhythm for a Monday or Tuesday meeting has been critical to my successes and failures over the years.  It seams when we aren’t consistent with our weekly tactical meetings we fail to execute and when we do have our weekly meeting rhythms we execute at a high level.  I’m also a big fan of the book “Death by Meeting” 

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  • erica42981

    Thanks for this helpful tips!

  • kgc

    Sorry to nitpick, but isn’t the saying “little to no sense”? That confused me for a bit.

  • jkglei

    Quite true, KGC! Not sure that homonym error slipped in there. Just fixed it, thanks!

  • Cymbelline

    Great article! I agree that sometimes meetings can be annoying when there seems to be no action steps involved at the end. This slippery slope involves the possibility for the same ideas/concerns to recur, still unresolved, and frustrating team members. That lost time could have been spent on being productive with tasks instead. Also, you mentioned that ‘… most teams plan meetings as liberally as they buy coffee.’ and it struck me that this simple statement does ring true. I will definitely note these steps to reduce opportunity costs in the future. Definitely will pass on this article to my colleagues. Thanks!

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  • Arlindo Junior

    Great article. I love/hate meetings too. But now, I will try to get better in the next meetings. (Sorry for my english. I dont’t speak very well. I use your articles to practice my readind and to do my homework🙂

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