Here's How to Deal With The Most Hated Task In Business

The first cabinet meeting of the Tony Abbott government. Photo: Getty

Work doesn’t happen at work because meetings get in the way.

It’s a common belief that most organisations handle meetings badly and there’s a lot of evidence to support that.

But here’s a solution: have more meetings but just make them shorter.

Sounds a little counter-intuitive but Dr Jason Fox, the author of the new book The Game Changer, says the issue isn’t the meetings but the duration of them and their relevance

“I think meetings are a broken game begging to be made better,” he says. “And I’ve got a solution for you: make your meetings frequent and short.”

Here’s Dr Fox’s tips:

  • Choose an odd time to start the meeting and stick to it: 0904. That’s precise and can’t be misinterpreted.
  • Set a timer at the start of each meeting: 7 to 12 minutes is ideal.
  • Keep teams small: Less than a dozen. A handful is better.
  • Stand-up meetings work best: makes for a level playing field, spread in a circle.
  • Every meeting needs a facilitator: Can be rotated but probably better for the team leader.
  • Anchor all effort back to your project: Use a progress wall or chart, something visual.
  • Everyone needs to answer two questions: What did you achieve yesterday? What are you working on today?

Dr Fox says:

“The goal of this game is not inquiry — it’s insight. It’s about making visible the work that each individual is doing, and contextualising that into the collective. When each person answers these questions, we create an open ecology — and yes, it is a bit Darwinian. There’s nowhere to hide. But this is a good thing, as it means people won’t be struggling in silence. With the clients I’ve helped establish this ritual, teams begin to self-regulate. They rally to support the performance of individuals, which in turn elevates the progress of the team.”

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