Simplifying Meeting Madness

“If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.” ~ John Cleese

Simplifying Meeting Madness

By Simon Tyler

Unless you work on your own, for yourself or in isolation, your weekly schedule will be peppered with meetings. Meetings about your projects, team members’ projects, corporate information sharing, program updates and on and on.

The culture in your organization has possibly led to the habit of multiple invitations and equally habitual acceptance and attendance. What was once a conversation, then a meeting has become a forum or even a committee.

The time left to be creative, space to think, opportunities to build relationships, has reduced down to a few chances a day, often in the margins at the beginning or end of the day or even packed into part of your travel time.

If you truly desire positive change, to create something new for you, your team or your company, then the time must surely have come for you to check your meeting habits now.

I have often found inspiration in the thinking and working practices of the late Steve Jobs and this Simple Note about meetings is dedicated to him.

He instilled within Apple the principle of meetings populated by the fewest participants possible. Unless someone is critical to the decision or has something crucial to add, they were asked to leave the meeting.

Start with small groups of smart people, every time the number increases, unnecessary complexity increases with it.

To access the best of simplicity, not least speed, I provocatively suggest that the more critical a project the fewer smart ones you co-opt in the better. This is the opposite to most corporate behavior.

And a bonus meeting culture changer: never allow a meeting to go beyond 30 minutes.

Go on, challenge your meeting behavior, and keep it simple.

Simon Tyler is one of the world’s leading business coaches. His work simplifies the lives of business leaders and owners. He is an incisive consultant, inspirational writer, provocative public speaker and master facilitator. To learn more about Simon, visit

Coaching Call To Action

What will you do this week to change your meeting behavior so that you and your company are more productive?  Shorter meetings, fewer meetings, less people?