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Meetings: the last white spot of the 21st century organization

Imagine running a Fortune 500 company without understanding or having insight into the allocation of your most valuable resource. Certainly, such a scenario is unthinkable for physical resources (e.g. raw materials) or financial resources (e.g. capital). Most companies have advanced Business Intelligence systems and full departments to keep track of raw materials, stock, capital, customers, sales and much more. And for good reason. After all, without for example customer insight, the marketing team wouldn’t know how to optimize their marketing spend.

For some reason, we’ve come to accept a different reality for human capital, i.e. employees. In order to be effective at work, most people need a combination of time dedicated for 1) “deep work”, i.e. to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task[1] and 2) collaborative activities such as meetings to foster creativity, innovation and team building.

Having too many meetings will eventually cause interruptions of the deep work and may reduce efficiency as well as creativity and innovation. It takes time to focus on a specific task, sort out your thoughts and dive into the matter. In fact, research suggests it takes about 25 minutes to refocus after an interruption.[2] On the other hand, having too few meetings may lead to misalignment between coworkers, reduced involvement, feelings of exclusion and loss of creativity.

For most organizations, meetings constitute a major cost. Research indicates that executives spend 23 hours per week in meetings.[3] At the same time, 50% of time spent in meetings is considered wasted.[4] According to one study, ineffective meetings in the US cost businesses up to $37 Billion per year.[5] Meetings are, in other words, a major cost with unclear value add.

So why does senior management in most organizations accept not knowing how their most valuable resource is doing at work? At Allting, we believe that this is due to the cost of meetings not being visible in the P&L. Hence, ineffective meetings are considered a cost of doing business.

Understanding how your organization’s meeting culture is affecting your employees and your cost base is essential to start addressing the issue. With Allting, organ

izations can track meeting quantity and quality over time, on an individual, team and organizational level. By tracking meeting quantity, organizations can gain insights into number of hours per week spent in meetings, number of participants per meeting, average length of meetings and much more. By tracking meeting quality, organizations can gain insight into meeting productivity, meeting relevancy, meeting sentiment, speech distribution and much more.

Allting’s AI based meeting coach allows users to learn how to improve meeting skills, so that in the end, we can have the right amount and high-quality meetings on the calendar. Don’t miss your chance of getting early access to Allting. Sign up here.

[1] Leslie A. Perlow, Constance Noonan Hadley, Eunice Eun, (2017) Stop the Meeting Madness, HBR

[2] Gloria Mark, The Cost of Interrupted Work: More Speed and Stress, Department of Informatics UC

[3] Perlow, et al., Stop the Meeting Madness, HBR

[4] Steven G Rogelberg, (2019) The surprising science of meetings, Oxford University Press [5] Steven G. Rogelberg, et al., (2014) Lateness to meetings: Examination of an unexplored temporal phenomenon, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology

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