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Meetings: The Widely Misused Parts of a Company

By Tsegamlak Solomon | Tue Oct 31 2017
I will always remember my first day at RENEW. It was Monday morning and after having three weeks of vacation between jobs, I couldn’t wait until I got assigned to my first task. I was excited to start kicking at this new company. However, when I got to work that day, the RENEW team was preparing for their weekly “Legend” meeting. The whole team wrote down their “I musts” for the week and presented them to the team. After some discussion on what should be added and what should be changed, the meeting was dissolved and the team proceeded to address their individual tasks. No one assigned me to any specific task so I was sitting there confused on what just happened and what I should do next. Then came Wednesday, and there was a ‘’Standup” meeting along with the “Active Pipeline” meeting later in the day. Then came the “Week in Review” meeting on Friday. But what was the point of all of these routine meetings?
Being a legal counsel for different companies, I have first-hand experience on how annoying and unproductive meetings can be. I have visited several government offices, including ministries, authorities, agencies, you name it and the number of times I have returned from these offices without getting anything done, because of all the meetings, are countless. For me, meetings always represented instruments to avoid tasks, and one of the reasons for the public’s dissatisfaction in public services. Coming from this background, I was confused on how a private company, with a great vision like RENEW, wasted this much time on meetings.
Then came week 2 and I began to understand the problem, and RENEW’s solution. The problem is not about having a meeting it’s about how you are using it. At RENEW, meetings are tools of execution. Every meeting has a purpose, an outcome and agenda. We take notes and conclude the meeting with a “next step”, or several. Through RENEW, I have come to understand the other side of meetings. It’s true that meetings are expensive; you are pulling people, your most valuable resource, away from their tasks and into a single room to talk. However, I’ve learned that if used correctly, meetings become the compasses of the company: they will help lead you towards the company’s daily, weekly, and yearly goals. Through meetings, you start to understand the bigger picture of the company, what the company is aiming for, where it is currently standing, its vision and how you, as an individual, can contribute to move the company forward. Now, during all our weekly meetings, I don’t expect someone to assign me a task. I already know where we are heading and how I can be of help in driving this ship forward.
Image Source: UCR Alumni Blog: Tips for Running Effective Meetings
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