I came across the interesting sideshow embedded here – This Weekly Meeting Took Up 300,000 Hours a Year – that looked at the ripple effect of preparation that a senior meeting causes.
- A weekly excom meeting consumed 7,000 hours of executive time, already a lot.
- To prepare for this the 11 attendees each hold preparation meetings – there goes another 20,000 hou
- To prepare for these the attendees call their own preparation meetings – a total of 300,000 hours, driven by that single exco meeting per week.
From our own work we know that the average cost per person per hour of a meeting of managerial and professional people, is around $60. So this one meeting creates $18M per year of costs.
In the article the objective of the exco meeting is defined as “to provide updates on all phases of the business”. This is a pretty poor reason for a meeting, information giving and activity and status updates can be delivered asynchronously by email or website – certainly for a lot less than $18M per year. Meetings should be about the things we can only do synchronously like discussion, co-creation and decision making.
I can well imagine that these types of exco meetings consist of lots of update presentations of relatively low relevance to the other participants.
I did a similar exercise with a famously micromanaging CEO of a financial services organization. His weekly meetings asked inappropriately detailed questions of senior leaders, expecting them to know what every office had sold the previous week. I calculated that over 10,000 people had to submit at least some input to make sure all the business heads were (over) prepared, every week.