How Larry Page Changed Meetings At Google After Taking Over Last Spring

Larry Page and some suits

Photo: Keith Powers

Last spring, when Larry Page retook the reins at Google, sources tell us that one of his first acts was to send a companywide email explaining how to run meetings more efficiently — like a hungry startup instead of a 30,000 person company.Today, Google finally revealed a little more about what he said.

In the latest edition of Think Quarterly, Google’s new online newsletter, operations VP Kristen Gil explains the basics:

  • Every meeting must have one clear decision maker. If there’s no decision maker — or no decision to be made — the meeting shouldn’t happen.
  • No more than 10 people should attend.
  • Every person should give input, otherwise they shouldn’t be there.
  • No decision should ever wait for a meeting. If a meeting absolutely has to happen before a decision should be made, then the meeting should be scheduled immediately.

These rules sound like common sense, but they often disappear as companies get large and people call meetings more for political or ego-boosting reasons than to actually get anything done.

Gil also explains that Page’s big reorganization, in which the company was divided into seven product groups with clear leaders, was done to make sure that the buck stopped with a single person. She credits this organizational scheme with letting Google+ release more than 100 new features in its first 90 days — more like a startup.


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