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Status meetings are the scourge. Here’s what we do instead.

Source | LinkedIn : By Jason Fried

Status meetings are the worst kinds of meetings. Eliminate them and you’ll actually know more, save a pile of money, and regain dozens of hours a month.

A status meeting — sometimes called a stand-up — is a meeting where a bunch of people get together in a room (or virtually via video chat) and speak one at a time. Someone gets the floor, they fill the group in on something that’s going on, then they cede the floor to someone else who does the same thing. One after another, around they go.

It’s hard to come up with a bigger waste of money, time, or attention than status meetings.

First, there’s no such thing as a one hour meeting.

Basic meeting math applies to all meetings: The time blocked off doesn’t equal actual time spent. The time spent is the time blocked off multiplied by the number of people in the meeting. So, a one hour meeting with 6 people is a six hour meeting. A 15 minute meeting with 9 people is a two-and-a-quarter-hour meeting. Even a 15 minute meeting with 4 people costs an hour of collective work time.

Factor in salaries and hourly rates, and meetings get expensive quick. Add in attention diverted and the cost goes up even more. Was that last meeting you had worth it? I’d almost certainly bet it wasn’t. Still not convinced? How would you feel if you had to regularly expense $1200 so you could “tell a few teammates something”. Think that would go over well?

Right now is almost always the wrong time

Status meetings are about updating people right now. But most status updates have nothing to do with right now. Does everyone really need to hear this information at the exact same time? I’d bet not.

In theory, telling everyone something in person at the same time may feel efficient, but in practice it’s just the opposite. You’re making everyone be present, which means they can’t be doing something else more valuable. You are pulling people away from their work not to work. No wonder people feel like they can’t get work done at work.

If someone read the information 90 minutes later, vs. heard it right in the moment, I bet all would be fine. Same with someone who reads it 3 hours later. Or even later than that.

If the information disseminated isn’t required to be absorbed by everyone at the exact same time, then let people absorb it when they’re ready to read it, vs. when you’re ready to tell them. That’s the enlightened way — don’t take people’s attention, give people back their attention so they can spend it in much more profitable ways.

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