In my work with clients I observed that a vast majority of meetings are some variation of a progress meeting.

With few rare exceptions, most of these are a waste of time, especially if they have more than seven people presenting in round table format.

Once I participated in a meeting with 22 people, where each person had five minutes to present their weekly progress. That single two-hour meeting costed the organisation 44 hours! And that is being generous, as most participants went over time...

Progress meetings are usually a reaction to trust issues that were poorly solved. Somebody promised something, and hasn't delivered on time, and as a reaction regular progress reporting was instituted, wasting more time than was saved.

Since it provides sense of comfort and has ritualistic vibe, it is continuously perpetuated. I've rarely encountered people that enjoy them, yet very few speak up against them.

And let's not forget that lengthy meetings are included in the Simple Sabotage Field Manual from the Office of Strategic Services, CIA’s precursor.

Here is a proposal for you: candidly and critically discuss all your meetings where the sole agenda point is reporting progress. Consider automating whatever you can. Visualise as much as you can, so that it's possible to see progress at glance.

It might seem like a lot of work, but you only have to do it once.

Unlike never ending stream of meetings...

Upcoming growth opportunities with Bruno:

I will be running a free webinar series on the subject of corporate innovation. Write me at bruno@pesec.no to let me know what issues and topics you'd like to hear more about, and I'll make sure to cover them.

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