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I think it's borderline universal that meetings can get out of hand and take even longer than necessary. Saw that Mayor Bloomberg is installing a count up clock to keep his meetings short. Seems like a good idea! With a time limit, priorities will be addressed over frivolous things.

I think I would ad two things to your "deadweight reduction" list.

1. Have a clear objective for the meeting. This should be a reason why each person MUST attend and something they can take away to make something about the business better. If a person is not getting something from the meeting that pushes the business forward, then they should not attend.

2. Assign post-meeting objectives to everyone in attendance. If you don't have some type of follow-up, then you probably didn't need t attend.

Make all meetings "stand-up". They get shorter when no one is allowed to sit down and get comfortable.

Drew - Clocks are good, especially with a timer. If you can't say what you have to say in under a minute BEEP! Organize your thoughts better.

Dan - Well, there are people you invite for permission, input or forgiveness, who don't necessarily leave with a to do. But in general I agree that if you aren't part of the work don't come for the donuts.

Jim - That would totally work. You are an organizational genius!

As part of my graduate school work last semester, I spent 75 hours following behind the Director of Nursing in our community hospital. I attended meeting upon meeting, with all of the nursing management team in attendance for most of them. Although the time spent was beneficial and enabled me to get the big picture on nursing management, I was amazed at the hours spent in meetings. The same faces, day after day, discussing the same subjects. Towards the end of the semester, in yet another meeting to discuss the results of the hospital's employee satisfaction survey, management learned that there was, in fact, quite a bit of employee dissatisfaction. As it turned out, the primary cause of dissatisfaction among employees was "my manager is rarely present in the workplace, and does not listen to me." Now granted I'm only the graduate student in a room full of managers receiving these results, but I thought to myself, I guess they're not in touch...they are in MEETINGS!! I couldn't help but think of the impact it would have on employees, in this particular case, nurses, if their direct managers were present on the unit, providing support and serving as a resource. If less time were spent in meetings, and more time was spent engaged with their employees day to day experiences, what a great experiment it would be.

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