Meetings as a Time Waster

In 1967, Peter Drucker wrote, “Another common time-waster is malorganization. Its symptom is an excess of meetings.”  Personally, I have never met an executive who hasn’t been able to decrease the number of meetings they attend by at least 25% (note the “at least,” as that is conservative). Here is an article I read on the web this morning. Not much has changed.

NZ managers think meetings waste time

New Zealand managers think one quarter of the meetings they go to achieve nothing but waste time , a survey by a recruitment company suggests.

From 207 finance, accounting, human resources and executive-level managers surveyed, the Robert Half survey found the main reason for ill-will towards meetings was lack of focus, with people talking about topics other than the issues they had come to discuss.

The global survey collected data from 6100 managers in 20 countries.

The New Zealand managers surveyed often didn’t know what they had been called there for, or felt meetings were being attended by people who didn’t need to be there.

The survey on time-wastefulness was led by Swiss managers, who thought 38.8 percent of their meetings were a waste of time, followed by the Spanish, at 38.4 percent.

Australian managers deemed 34.5 percent of meetings a waste of time, citing the same reason as their New Zealand counterparts — lack of focus.

The lowest percentage of unnecessary meetings was reported in Luxembourg, at 13.7 percent, and Dubai, at 16.9 percent.

All surveys carried out by Robert Half suggested staff were more stressed and under more pressure to achieve more with fewer resources, senior manager Megan Alexander said.

“At some companies, meetings become such a habit that no one stops to ask whether there’s even still a compelling reason to hold them. But now is the perfect time to re-evaluate your meeting schedule and analyse which ones are really necessary, and which are not the most efficient use of resources,” she said.


McWilliams Consulting