60 Minute Man

I’ve come to realize that in the business world we have collectively developed perfect 1 hour internal clocks.  Parkinson’s law states Work expands to fill the time available for its completion” – so to it is with meetings.

I’m amazed at the ways in which a meeting will degrade into 50 minutes of discussion, and then without any prompting, at around the 10-minute to go mark people suddenly begin to come together and wrap it up.  It’s uncanny how at the end of the hour we can leave a meeting more or less done with the topic at hand.  Why can’t we accomplish this in 55 minutes?  50?  45?  or even… 30! (GASP).

We find our days packed with back to back to back meetings without so much as a minute for a drink or a bio-break much less checking email or taking a moment to have a personal conversation or build a relationship.

Our presentations take an hour, our staff meetings, our 1x1s, our process debates.  No one expects 65 minutes, no one asks for 70… we’re conditioned to fit it all into 60 minutes.

I mentioned this casually to a colleague a few weeks back.  She not only saw the same thing, but she’d begun working with her direct staff to wrap up their meetings at 50 minutes.  She she’s starting small, with just her team, and it doesn’t work every time, but it’s a beginning.

I’m with her, it’s time to reprogram my internal clock.  I say let’s all join in… and let’s take it one step farther… 45 minutes.  It’s not much to ask.   A little less debate, a little more organization, let’s have an agenda, let’s stick to it, let’s get our business done in 45 minutes and have a few moments to live between the meetings in our overly booked days.

Won’t you join us?

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~ by brianherman on October 9, 2008.

2 Responses to “60 Minute Man”

  1. Here here! I do know what you mean. So many of these things last for exactly the length of time for which they are scheduled. There’s also an element of “it’s 45 mins in, we’ve run out of things to say but we’ll keep the meeting going anyway”. This often seems to happen with things that can be covered by IM, email or not at all.

  2. Increase productivity…..stick a clock in your meeting room, that gains 15 minutes over an hour. Then, when the 60 minute meeting has finished….BAM! you get an extra 15 minutes productivity as your staff returned to the desks, unaware the meeting had in fact only ran for 45 minutes!! :o)

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