6 electric ideas changing the way we manage: Part 6

28 July 2016 -


The final instalment in our series looks at why the way you run meetings is rubbish (and what you can do about it)

Matt Scott

Every year, £50bn is wasted on unproductive meetings that achieve nothing more than infuriating everyone in attendance and creating more work than they achieve.

They invariably go on too long, have too many people sat round the table, and finish without having actually tackled the heart of the problem and come up with the solution that everyone’s looking for.

David Wethey’s solution is the ‘mote’ – a new kind of super meeting that aims to increase productivity and ensure objectives are met and actions taken.

The secrets to achieving a successful super meeting are preparation, simplicity and being a stickler for punctuality and timing. Most important is to develop a tight agenda and then stick to it.

Preparing for a mote is often the work of two people: the leader, who will run the meeting, and the navigator, whose role is to ensure the preparation is as focused as possible.

Other tips for running effective super meetings include:

  • Create a phone stack – make everyone put their phones and tablets in a pile out of harm’s way. This eliminates distractions and increases concentration.
  • The de Bono principle – it is much more productive to brainstorm a variety of ideas than just to debate A and B before discounting one and moving on.
  • Make everyone take notes – as the proverb goes: ‘the faintest ink beats the strongest memory.’
  • Stop having back-to-back meetings – clearing time before and after stops people worrying about how the previous meeting went or what they need to do to prepare for the next.
  • Use short directive breaks – telling people to take five minutes to check emails can leave them feeling refreshed and more productive when they return to the mote.

This electric idea is drawn from a selection of this year’s CMI Management Book of the Year entries. To find out about all the shortlisted books and inhale some of their management magic, visit yearbook.managers.org.uk

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