Does your organization have meetings two or three times a week? Are the problems brought up in your meetings solved in the end, or are they rehashed over and over, week after week?
From what I’ve found in my travels, most managed service providers’ (MSP) meetings last a minimum of four hours a week—when they really should only take about one hour. If this is the issue your organization is often facing, it’s time to improve the effectiveness of your meetings, because frequent, long-lasting meetings increase the cost of your company’s production and revenue.
The great CEO of GE, Jack Welch, once wrote that if a meeting lasted more than 10 minutes, you must have done something wrong. I’ve noticed that most of the time, we bring up an issue in a meeting without giving a specific resolution. We very often talk about the difficulties we’re struggling with but usually leave them unsolved—only to have them show up again in another meeting. We tend to become problem complainers rather than problem solvers, and that mostly explains why a meeting takes up hours and turns out to be unproductive and inefficient.
For managed service companies, time is money because you’re working with a significant number of clients every day—clients who are waiting for you to provide them with viable solutions to their issues and problems. This is the reason why it is very essential for MSPs to maintain effective meetings, since having meaningless, lengthy meetings will hurt your productivity today and your profit later on. My best suggestion for MSPs in this situation—one that has worked well for myself—is to empower your employees. By empowering your employees and entrusting them to do their job, you’re not only giving your personnel value and helping them to build trust and confidence, but you’re also indirectly saving time and making your meetings more efficient.
In your next meeting, tell your employees that if they bring up a problem, make sure to bring a resolution as well. In some cases, multiple solutions are highly recommended. Then let them pick one that they think will work the best, have them sell the case, and then implement it.
Usually, when a resolution for an issue is passed down to employees to implement, their first response is to resist or have a grudging attitude, as if they are forced to do what they’re not interested in. Instead, if an employee brings up an issue—along with a resolution—it’s apparent that they have thought it out and spent time working on ideas to solve the problem. It proves that your employee has taken the initiative.
As I have observed, people tend to dump the whole mess in a meeting, requesting a resolution from the others within a limited time frame. In many instances, however, one needs to think about a problem for a while before coming up with a solution. If we don’t find an end to this vicious circle, we’re going to have never-ending meetings forever. The purpose of a meeting is to figure out what to do to solve an issue or to complete an assignment. So give your employees the power to take full control over a specific issue. Let them take the initiative and be creative producing their ideas before they present their work in a meeting. By doing this, not only will you be surprised by seeing your employees take pride in their work, but you will also find these meetings have purpose and are more enjoyable.
Here are steps that will guide you to having an effective meeting:
- Prepare an agenda beforehand
- Have a quick overview of what is going on in a specific area
- Present the issue
- Present the resolution with reasons
- Raise questions, give advice or feedback, and offer help from other departments
- Move on
Put this into practice and your meetings will be efficient and take about 10 to 15 minutes.
In conclusion, make everyone efficient and accountable. Streamline your meetings, because the more effective and productive meetings are, the more money and time you save for your organization. Keep in mind that a problem with a resolution equates to efficient production, profit, and employee satisfaction.