in the way management teams develop agendas and
structure meetings can make a big difference in your
company’s bottom line. A recent Harvard Business Review
by Michael C. Mankins entitled “Stop Wasting Valuable
Time” contained some great tips for making the most of
valuable time and resources.
Understanding where we tend to go astray is the first
of top management teams spend relatively little time
together and the time spent is often not used wisely
- they spend too much time discussing issues that
have little or no direct impact on company value.
setting is unfocused and undisciplined - agendas can
tend to be the same from meeting to meeting or
driven by the crisis of the moment. At times, the
agenda may have too much on it to focus on the key
little attention is paid to strategy - top
management meetings aren’t structured to produce
real decisions (they are usually held for
information sharing, group input, etc.).
problems can be fixed by improving teamwork at the top.
In “Stop Wasting Valuable Time,” seven common techniques
are identified for getting control of the situation:
with operations separately from strategy - hold
separate meetings for each purpose. This will
prevent day-to-day operations from dominating the
agenda and free up time for strategy debates.
on decisions, not discussions.
Measure the real value of every item on the agenda -
prioritize the items and focus on making a decision
on one item that is top priority before moving on to
the other items of lesser importance.
issues off the agenda as quickly as possible. Now
that management has the right issues on the agenda
by adhering to rule number 3 above, it needs to
quickly resolve the items remaining on the agenda.
real choices on the table - once the priorities have
been established and a timetable set, viable options
must be presented to reach good decisions.
common decision-making processes and standards - to
make solid decisions, good companies use a common
language methodology and set of standards for making
decisions. Develop a decision-making process within
your organization that is well understood throughout
decisions stick - many times, the most challenging
task of all is getting top management teams to agree
on what was agreed to in a meeting. Strategic
decisions need to be translated into something
tangible. Be clear about what the final decision is.
If ambiguity exists among the management team, get
the issues on the table until all are on board and
agree to the decision and all its consequences.
companies recognize that top management’s time is one of
their most precious resources, and they adopt these
types of meeting practices, strategic decisions that
will positively affect the bottom line will become
commonplace. No more “unfinished” business!