I spend a good amount of my life in meetings — more than I would like, if I’m completely honest. During all of my hours around a conference table, I’ve come to realize a few things. One of the things I believe pretty strongly is that meetings are really similar to workouts on a treadmill. And, no, I’m not using that as a way to take a cheap shot at meetings through the “they both are painful and never seem to end” comparison.
Here’s what I mean. When you get on the treadmill, you get to pick which setting is going to control your workout. Time is by far the most common – “I’m running for 30 minutes.” But you can also use other settings – “I’m running 3 miles” or “I’m burning 400 calories”, for example. To me, the time setting is less motivating. The goal is just to hang in there for the agreed amount of time. But the other settings are more goal oriented – you’re trying to accomplish something and when you do, you’re done.
Are more of your meetings controlled by the time setting or a goal oriented setting? In my experience, most are controlled by the time setting – we’re sitting in this conference room for an hour because that’s what we do. How much more fun if they were pointed at a goal – we need to make these three decisions and then we’re out of here.
I’m trying for more goal oriented meetings and few time defined meetings this year.