Blog Posts Process Management

Effective Meetings

Blog: BPM Insights - Rob Berg

It’s always a good idea to revisit some fundamental management principles to keep ourselves focused and productive. And what part of our day is more time consuming than the seemingly endless barrage of meetings and conference calls that beckon us? One of the most productive meetings I’ve ever been involved with was led by Ken Ciancimino, the then-Executive Director of the Trump Organization. Our little IT-company had a proposal for Mr. Trump, and he was kind enough to have one of his senior executives listen. Entering the meeting room precisely at the designated time, Mr. Ciancimino explained: “Here’s how we do meetings here. I want to know who, what, where, when, how and why. And then we’re done. Fair enough?” Without the need for any further explanation, we knew exactly what to present. He made it abundantly clear that time was money, and gave us a simple, universally understood outline to ensure we covered all the bases he needed covered to report back. We were in and out in less than 30 minutes. A colleague from Trump’s IT group followed up the next day with a 4-page technical questionnaire. Efficiency defined. Wow.

Through my involvement in a few hundred meetings at dozens of client companies over the past several years, it’s become evident that the lessons learned on that day in Trump Tower are lost on most – and that some simple guidelines might yield some real benefit. Here’s my take on good meetings; feel free to share your own ideas and experiences:

These are common sense ideas that will pay great dividends to those who take them to heart. As process improvement consultants, we’re constantly looking for ways to increase productive capacity and reduce waste. As one of the major consumers of our time, meetings demand solid discipline and the application of good practices.

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