October 2, 2023

How many meetings you got this week?


Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

Another Parkinson’s Law piece

I love it when the sarcasm is so thick it may also be true. Like this graph from the last OnlyCFO newsletter.

(If you haven’t read it, I recommend subscribing. Here.)

I regret to inform you that time efficiency is back in the hype cycle:

👉Shopify’s leaked a memo on banning side gigs

👉The WSJ’s feature on 4 day work weeks

👉Fast Company’s feature on Yale’s “Happiness Class” (a pro 4 day work week piece)

I’m not an organizational design expert. But I do know a thing or two about completely wasting my time on something unproductive. (Posting on LinkedIn, for example.)

The elephant in the room: How could 32 hours possibly be more productive than 40 hours?

If you’re unfamiliar, Google the law of diminishing returns. I’m over my self-imposed quota of hyperlinks today. Also you should be embarrassed if you have no. No judgment. (Totally a judgment.)

The answer relates to those extra 8 hours. What are you actually doing with them?

All the things that OnlyCFO was (not actually) trolling us on. Meetings. Meetings about the meetings. Meetings to evaluate the meetings. Informal meetings (aka water cooler chit chat aka totally not working.)

I love the idea of the 4 day work week. The problem is: when your clients aren’t on a 4 day work week, you aren’t either. Either we all gotta do it or it’s just another thing that gets likes on social media.

But we’d all be happy with something far more basic: our time not being wasted.

People want to feel valued. They want to know their time means something. They want to know their efforts had an impact. (They also want a boatload of money for it but we’ll do a compensation rant another day.)

So I offer you 3 easy habits to build across your organization:

  1. Make an agenda for every meeting. No agenda, no meeting.
  2. If you ever feel like your recurring meetings are going through the motions, it’s because they are. Break the habit. Reboot or cancel.
  3. Say it with me: not every meeting has to go the full scheduled time.

On that last point. If you ever heard the term “If you wait until the last minute it only takes a minute” I have news for you: it’s not a joke.

Parkinson’s Law (ok, one more link).

Meetings and busy work expand to fill its allotted time span, regardless of the amount of work to be done.

Something to keep in mind on a Monday morning as you’re filling out your TPS Reports.

Baby steps.

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

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