We hold meetings for many reasons, from working on school projects to planning for future product launches. However, their effectiveness is questionable. A Microsoft Office Survey revealed that people spend 6.5 hours a week on them – almost a whole work day. Here’s how Steve Jobs does meetings.
1. Make your meetings informal, constant events
Entrepreneur Magazine says that Jobs liked to be constantly kept in the loop of things.
“At Apple, because quality is stressed over quantity, meetings are informal and visible progress is made on a weekly – if not daily – basis. Keeping your team in sync is not something you do once a week. It’s something you do everyday.”
Jobs endeavoured to run Apple like a startup and meetings were held not to micromanage his team, but for them to have insight into the various aspects of the business. In an interview with CNN, he explained:
“I want [my employees] making as good or better decisions than I would. So the way to do that is to have them know everything, not just their part of the business, but in every part of the business.”
So try having a weekly meeting where you walk the members through the entire business or operation so that the relevant individuals will have a clear idea of the bigger picture.
2. Keep meetings as small as possible
Jobs disliked meetings with too many people. He preferred to have people working on something, instead of sitting passively in the meeting room. If people did not have much to contribute, they should be spending their time somewhere else.
In a weekly meeting with Apple’s ad agency, Jobs looked around and found someone who didn’t normally attend the meeting. After asking who she was, he curtly dismissed her and resumed the meeting without skipping a beat.
He had no tolerance for spectators, including himself, and everyone in the meeting has to be adding value and contributing for them to be there in the first place.
3. Hold people publicly accountable
Every meeting at Apple ends with next steps. Each task is assigned to someone who will be the DRI (Directly Responsible Individual) and he will be made accountable for the achieving the expectations placed upon him during the meeting. By making someone publicly accountable, it puts the pressure on that individual to ensure that the task is done by the next meeting.
A lack of clear and well-defined ownership can undermine even the best ideas and projects, especially when large, multi-disciplinary teams are involved. Having a DRI will make sure that all meeting action items are achieved.
How do you run your meetings, and what can you do differently to improve them?