Meetings have a bad name. Consultants and leadership gurus encourage you to abolish all meetings because they are a waste of time. Meetings are not a waste of time ! It is what is discussed in the meeting that determines if this is or not a waste of time.

What is your leadership team discussing in the regular team meeting ? Is each presenting their department’s KPIs and updates in a series of endless Powerpoint slides ? Are you discussing where the next company outing should take place ? Or is the team discussing how to enhance engagement or how to update the company values ?

Parkinson’s law of triviality highlights exactly that. Way back in 1957 Northcote Parkinson described that members of an organization give disproportionate weight to trivial issues. When the discussion is about choosing the color of the new car park roof, pretty much everyone will have an opinion, most likely a different one. A lot of time will be spent to try get the team to an agreement or compromise or in the end an executive decision. On the other hand, just ask how each of the leadership team thinks the company’s values or mission should be upgraded. The discussion will be much more stifled. People feel more comfortable discussing trivial issues, because there is less at stake. Yet those same people will complain the meetings are a waste of time.

Next time you have a team meeting, don’t focus on how long the meeting takes. Focus on what the team discusses and what value that topic really has for the organization.