In late 2017, I was having a conversation with my boss (my company’s COO) about how I use my time during the workday. I said that I thought “the majority” of my time was spent in meetings. His disbelief in that statement sparked an intense curiosity. That weekend, I opened up my laptop expecting to be able to drill down into some little-known Microsoft Outlook sub-menu that would allow me to pull up a report on how many meetings I attended and how much time those meetings accounted for. WRONG. To my complete and utter surprise, no such functionality exists (nor does it exist in Google Business Suite). So, I manually went through every day of my calendar in 2017 – and six painful hours later I discovered that I spent about 75% of my time in meetings!
That got me thinking – as a VP of Sales at a hundred and fifty person organization, I wondered how much time my team spent in meetings. I wondered how much time my company spent in meetings. I wondered how that compared to other similar companies and teams. I wondered how much of that time was well-spent and how much was simply wasted. And, I wondered how much money the wasted time was costing my company! These unanswered questions got my creative juices flowing. I spoke with executives. I spoke with employees. I spoke with mentors and investors and technical advisors. The feedback was overwhelming and unanimous – lack of visibility into the time and cost of meetings is an enormous and unsolved problem for today’s corporations – and I was not alone in acknowledging that fact. A simple Google search will serve up hundreds of quotes, tweets, memes, cartoons, and statistics that emphasize exactly how omnipresent this problem is. Yet, it seems that companies often feel that overly numerous, poorly run, and improperly attended meetings are a “cost of doing business” or “a problem too big to fix.”
Personally, I believe people have gone about solving this problem in a backward sort of way. There are plenty of tools out there for running better meetings. But, none of them start with creating true visibility into the time, cost, and waste associated with how companies operate. We at MeterX believe that if we can provide you with access to the right information and a system for operations leaders in the C-suite to measure, track, manage, and report on a company’s meeting culture, YOU can decide how to best act upon that information in line with your own unique company culture. For some companies, using MeterX may carry with it a placebo effect (i.e. people will schedule less needless meetings “because they know someone is watching.”) For others, it may lead to leveraging internal talent development teams to coach up individuals and departments that drive meeting bloat. And for others yet, external consultants may be the best solution. With all of this being said, there’s a lot of work to be done, and gathering input from early users is of paramount importance. If your company uses Google Business Suite (starting here – Office365 will come next) and you’re interested in learning more about participating in our beta program, please contact me today.
Let’s face it – meetings are never going away. But that’s not a bad thing because well-run, appropriately attended, and truly necessary meetings will always be key to driving your company’s success. We can all agree, however, that it would be nice to say goodbye to the waste associated with a sub-par meeting culture, and that’s where MeterX comes in!-Russ Mikowski CEO, MeterX