#2: How a culture of meetings proliferates.


An abundance in both the number and duration of meetings, while not inevitable, is strongly correlated with company size and age.

With size comes a greater difficulty for alignment; with age comes more specialised pockets of knowledge. Meetings appear to be the solution to these problems.

We believe most — it not all — of our problems can be solved by putting the right people in the room. Yet meetings are often marred by two failures: attendees using meetings as status symbols, and a proliferation of poor process.

Meetings are often wielded as status symbols: the more people in your meeting, the more important you are. And for the savvy attendee, speaking up in meetings provides visibility and the chance to move up the company hierarchy — all the while extending your meeting's run time.

Meetings are also often poorly run. Running an effective meeting is a skill rarely taught and more often learnt from experience. This perpetuates a meeting culture of aimless gatherings, bloated invite lists, and a failure to acknowledge that meetings are not a panacea.

A meeting is a tool that requires skill and the right situation. Consider writing a document instead.

Related: 8a, 20