Successful meetings: Efficiently solving problems


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Text comes from: Führung kompakt: Die 15 Führungstools, die wirklich funktionieren (2014) by Matthias K. Hettl, published by BusinessVillage Verlag, Reprints by friendly permission of the publisher.
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"Too many reviews are a clear sign of poor organization," said British historian, sociologist and publicist Cyril Northcote Parkinson (1909-1993), who became world-famous as the discoverer of Parkinson's laws. What does he want to tell us?

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Matthias K. Hettl hettlMatthias K. Hettl is an economist and advised the UN.

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Problem solving or time-consuming?

The phrase 'Without a plan you automatically plan the failure' often applies to meetings. The key to the success of your meeting is planning.

By Cyril Northcote Parkinson (1909 - 1993) is also this beautiful quote handed down: "Meetings with many participants rarely solve a problem, but waste a lot of valuable time."

The key to success

In fact, the key to a meeting's success is that your employees and you are clear about the purpose, goal and end result from the start.

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Prepare a short agenda in advance and ask for the content of the participants, which leads to a list of priorities and are edited one after the other - the most important first, the most important last.

Is the meeting really necessary?

In principle, you should ask yourself whether meetings are really necessary.

Your employees and you need to get together to exchange information, make decisions, plan, discuss, discuss something, dispel a quarrel, celebrate, and more. Meetings can also help improve motivation and productivity.

Direct and indirect costs

When does it Senseto hold a meeting and when not? The decision to host a meeting requires careful consideration as this is always associated with costs, both direct and indirect.

The direct costs include travel expenses, catering, the rent for the venue and a possible accommodation during longer lasting meetings. Indirect costs include working time and productivity losses for the participants.

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Break with habits

Therefore you have to wonder how necessary this meeting is and if there are not other options like sharing about eMails, information or memos. Break the habit of holding a meeting just because it's always been on Monday at 10 pm.

Decide whether the meeting is absolutely necessary, whether it is more appropriate to carry it out, or whether it is actually also without meeting. Take the initiative, raise the question and reduce your meeting time in a meaningful way.

Productivity killer

Tip: If you are holding a meeting, you should recognize the possible fall cords that can become a productivity cleanup. These include:

  • unpunctual beginning,
  • in time,
  • no meeting leader,
  • to leave more time than necessary,
  • a participant to let the meeting partly dominate,
  • to degenerate the meeting into a one-sided dialogue,
  • for the things discussed, no completion date or to-dos,
  • Discussion topics to which those present can not contribute,
  • to invite too many attendees and thus impair the performance of the entire meeting.

Meetings - problem solving or frustration?

Meetings have many functions: they serve information exchange, discussion, decision-making and problem resolution. Missing or inadequate information is a breeding ground for misunderstandings, frustration and a lack of identification with a task.

Precisely for this reason, meetings can be an important contribution to the motivation of your employees and be an effective way to create ideas, to promote team spirit or to bring about actions.

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For example, using the brain to storm a problem

In the advertising agency BDO founded by Alex Osborn, the poor quality of the meetings annoyed the boss. There were dozens of meetings that were anything but inspiring. They lasted forever, tiring and inhibiting any form of creativity. They were the GAU for a company that earned its money by being creative. Osborn was aware of the threat and recalled the more than 400 years old Indian creativity technique of Prai-Barshana. From their mantra - using the brain to storm a problem - he derived today's brainstorming.

Time in meetings efficiently

The time of the meetings depends on the time for the tasks to be done. In principle, the number of meetings has increased in recent years. In addition, additional tasks may arise from the meeting.

As a leader, you spend more than 50 percent of your time in meetings. This is why it is of central importance to use this time effectively. The success of your meeting lies in the correct preparation and organization as well as in the professional execution.

As much as necessary and as little as possible

Meetings cost valuable working time. This is why it is important for you to make sure that this important work instrument is used in the related time. The following principle applies to meetings:

As much as necessary and as little as possible. For this, they should also be prepared as professionally as possible. Your most important reflection question after each meeting must be: Was the time spent investing meaningfully and will your team come a step further?

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