The Calendar Purge

Some organizations are canceling most meetings. They hope it will lead to more productivity. Is this the right play or an overreaction?

The Calendar Purge

Christian | January 6, 2023 | Other

Season 2 Episode 36 - Some organizations are canceling most meetings.
They hope it will lead to more productivity. Is this the right play or
an overreaction? In many cases cancelling ineffective meetings is the
the correct decision. Having the right kinds of meetings with the right
people participating, with a focus is the challenge.

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Christian Well, hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of
the TeamWork - a Better Way podcast. I'm Christian
Napier, and I am joined by by Spencer Horn. And,
Spencer, I have to say, it's a happy new year and a
happy new look. You've got this lush facial hair growing
in here. That's the most hair I've seen on your face, I
think, since I've known you, which has been almost 20

Spencer Yeah, well, you're exactly right. I can't grow it on
top, so I figured I'd grow it here. And you're generous
with the word lush. It's certainly not lush. It's very
scruffy. But I just I've never, ever in my life grown a
beard, and I thought, what the heck? I'm just going to
see what happens and see how it looks. So far, my wife
likes it. A couple of other people say they like it. I
don't know. I went to one of my clients today, and I was
a little self conscious about it, and they all had
beers, and I'm like, okay, I fit right in.

Christian Well, if Jenna likes it, I mean, that's what matters
most, right? So as long as she's on board, then it's all
good, right?

Spencer That's exactly right. Well, somebody gave us a little
love on whatever you were saying, but on the comments,
so that's great. What about you? Happy new year to you,
Christian. Gosh, I love that. You're smiling, you're
happy, and I got to see you just before Christmas.

Christian Yeah, the Christmas and new year time was a good time
for us. Of course, we got a lot of.

Spencer Snow.

Christian A lot of shoveling. There's, a lot of back pain. But
very grateful, grateful, grateful for the rain and the
snow that we've had because we desperately need it.
Where such dire drought conditions, there's not a better
way to welcome in the new year than with a nice, fresh
blanket of snow covering the ground on the new year. But
you weren't here for the snow, were you?

Spencer I was before I actually got caught in all those
cancellations on Southwest airlines that got stuck in
Denver on the I think it was the 21st.

Christian I totally forgot. You've got to tell that story,
Spencer. What an amazing story. You got to tell that

Spencer Basically, we we got stuck in Denver, and we had 16
cancellations in the next two days. But at the time, I
mean, we were doing our best to find another flight. We
had gone out of the airport. Back in the airport, we
booked a hotel just because they said, we can't get you
out tonight. All flights are canceled. I tried to rent a
car. I couldn't do that. And from our original
destination, we were flying from Des Moines to salt Lake
City. And there was another lady on that flight who we
had just talked to, kind of had a perfunctory
conversation. She handed us some high shoes or something
like that, and she said I was wearing my Utah gear.
Anyway, I was representing for my school that got
creamed in the Roseball. But anyway, I didn't think much
of it, but as the night wore on, we were at the airport
for hours and hours and hours, and when final
cancellations happened, I mean, there were 200 people in
customer service lines, and we didn't know what we could
do. I called four times to get a car and couldn't get
it. This little lady walks up to us, Christian, and she
says, hey, you guys are going to Salt Lake, right? And
we said, yeah, how would you feel? What are you doing?
And we told her, and she says, well, how would you feel
if we rented a car together? I said, what you can get?
Which is, yeah, I can just press this button, and it
looks like I've got one reserved. I said, do it, do it.
And she reserved it. So my wife and I, we went out of
the airport. This was probably one in the morning. Now.
It was 20 below outside. There's another couple waiting
to get on the rental car bus with us, and we find out
that they're going to a town that's kind of on the way
to our home. The roads were so bad that highway 80
through Wyoming was closed, and the only way through,
believe it or not, was over the Rockies, over that
Eisenhower Pass that goes if, you know, 11,000ft. It's
just crazy that that was open. So we didn't know what
kind of car we'd have enough room, so we didn't invite
the other couple behind us initially. But when we got to
the counter by 02:00 a.m. In the morning, they gave us a
van. They didn't have any four wheel drives or anything
like that, no snow tires. And we turned to the couple
behind us who was being charged $700 because the rental
rates were going way up. We said, you guys want to come
with us? And so we ended up having five strangers rent a
car together. And I drove all through the night, and we
stopped in I can't remember the name of the town on I 70
and had a, you know, IHOP in the morning, and and it was
just white out conditions, white knuckle. Took us 13 and
a half hours to get from Denver to Salt Lake City. And
and the news called. I had, like, three news outlets,
one from DC. Wyoming. Here in Salt Lake. Fox News
called, and they came to my house and did a story on it.

Christian That's awesome. I confess, I've watched the story after
our mutual friend Patrick said, did you see Spencer on
the news? I'm like, what are you talking about? Yeah,
Spencer was on Fox 13. Like, really? So I checked it
out. What an amazing story.

Spencer Well, thank you, whoever's giving us thumbs up. We're
glad you're listening, but we're now friends. We
actually have a dinner date with this couple. It turns
out that this lady was the matron of the Temple Square
mission. For those of you listening, we have what's
called a mission president. There are missions all over
the world, but the Salt Lake City Temple Square has its
own mission. They have like 65 sister missionaries.
These are usually what, 19 to 22 year old, 23 year old
young women. And millions of people come to Temple
Square and they take care of them. They put them on
tours and stuff. And so they're responsible for managing
all of those. And she needed to be back for meetings.
And so really, it was a small miracle. And I'm actually
going to be talking about this story tonight on Facebook
on what's called HiFi of Live. And we'll take a little
more detailed story. I mean, I don't know if you believe
in Providence, those of you who are listening. I do, and
I believe it was really a tender mercy that we were able
to get home. It wasn't just the inconvenience. It was
all the things that we had planned for our family. This
lady special meetings that she needed to be back for.
The other couple had young children that they needed to
get back to. So it was very providential. Wow.

Christian Well, I'm going to check that out on Facebook tonight,

Spencer 07:00.

Christian It's Friday, 02:00, Mountain Time. We're recording this
now, friday, the 6 January for those who might be
listening, delayed on podcasts. But you mentioned that
this person needed to get back to Salt Lake for
meetings. This is my very poor attempt at a segue here
because our initial conversation, our topic, what you
put up on LinkedIn was about meetings. And what prompted
this was an article that I saw yesterday or the day
before in Fortune magazine talking about Shopify, the
company Shopify purging their calendar of meetings and
reducing a lot of meetings, basically banning any
meetings with more than two people except under specific
circumstances. I thought that was quite interesting. So
I sent it to you and like, hey, let's have a
conversation about that. So what was your initial
thought when you saw this article talking about Shopify
purging its calendar of meetings, trying to dramatically
reduce the number of meetings under the assumption, I
guess, that the time spent in meetings is largely
unproductive in some of these meetings. I know you had
some strong opinions when you saw that. So why don't you
tell us what was your thinking when you saw this

Spencer Well, you're right. I saw it and I read it, and I've
actually had some time to think about it and look at it
even more deeply. They talk about the fact that they
have 10,000 corporate events every year. That's 76,500
hours spent in meetings. And I'm like, well, okay, well,
they have how many thousands of employees? This is a
huge ecommerce organization. They're behemoths. And so
they need to be having meetings, but are they having the
right meetings? And obviously they've made the
determination that they're not Christian. And so I think
what they're doing is they're taking a very strong
stance saying we have got to figure out how to do this
right. And they're taking a drastic step maybe to create
a shock to the culture that's my take on it is that they
want their people to be more productive ultimately.
That's the purpose. I hear, and I know you do all the
time. People say, I'm in too many meetings. I can't get
anything done. I'm in the meeting, I'm in a meeting,
after meeting, after meeting. I need to do the work. And
so really, the purpose of this drastic calendar purge is
to give their people no more excuse to get work done, is
what I feel. Now, what was your take on it?

Christian Yeah, I had a similar view. I wondered, and especially
here in the States, we may have a view that by
definition, time and meetings is not productive time,
that we could be doing something better or more
productive on our own than we can in a meeting. I don't
know if that's universally true. Right. It seems to me
that there are certain things that you can do at your
desk by yourself or with your customers or so on, but
there are some things that are more productive and
efficient and effective by having a meeting. So how do
you determine which meetings are the right meetings to
be having? What differentiates a productive meeting from
a nonproductive meeting?

Spencer I think that's an excellent question. And for me, the
purpose of meetings is to get work done, is to have
accountability, to follow through, to create closure, to
create collaboration, to create alignment, to prevent
duplication, to coordinate. Those are all very
productive activities. And I think when they are done
correctly, meetings can be very productive. And if
they're not, I think one of the things that makes
meetings unproductive is having people in those meetings
that don't need to be there. And sometimes managers do
that because some people want to seat at the table. They
want to feel like they're involved, they want to feel
like they're important. So let's invite them and have
them feel important when they're not really
contributing. And I think that's a waste of manpower.
And I think we need to look at some trends that have
happened recently to understand what's happening here.
And I think that will help clarify then we can really
dig into your question about what's a productive meeting
and what's not. You know, when before the Pandemic, what
was it? 5% of workers were remote and now today 18%.
Well, shopify. What percentage of their workers would
you say are remote? I mean, they are a remote centric
organization. Their whole focus. That's one of the
things that they've really strived to do is not be
office centric. And I think one of the things that
happened with every organization that went online during
COVID when we couldn't be together is we started having
meetings via Zoom, and we didn't particularly do them
well. And we needed to have more meetings because we no
longer had Christian, that connection that we actually
need to be productive, we need time to collaborate, we
need time to be together and to solve problems. Well,
that was taken away. And so we found ourselves actually
having more communication online than we were used to
having. And I don't think we did that particularly well.
You heard I mean, there's so many people saying Zoom
fatigue, and there's a lot of data that shows that.
Respondents from a poly survey done a year ago said that
people are spending five times more time in meetings,
and 22% of respondents spend half or more of a standard
work week in virtual meetings. That's a lot of time
spent in meetings. Now, it's not everybody, but 22% of
people, and half their time is in meetings. And one of
the challenges that people have with virtual meetings is
that 25% of people in the survey say that they feel that
personal connection is their greatest challenge. They
can't have that personal connection when they're on that
virtual meeting. And so the virtual meetings were a
response to not being together. And I think we didn't do
them well for a time. We got much better at them.
Organizations got much more efficient. And in the same
survey, 93% of respondents say they valued well
structured meetings. They can be well done. And when you
do them, you're organized. You have a purpose. You get
in, you get out. You don't creep overtime so that
meetings are washing over meetings, if you know what I'm
talking about. Well, I just spewed out a lot of stuff. I
mean, what do you have to say about what I've shared so

Christian Well, it's really interesting to hear you touch on this,
because there are some different elements that I think
are interesting. One is the connection. And you're
right, it's difficult to connect virtually the same way
that you connect in person. And you said we've had a
hard time adjusting to it. We're getting to it. But that
is to be expected. We never did it. We've always done it
the old way, which was when we had meetings, we talked
to each we went around the corner and we talked to
somebody. We went into an office. We went into a
conference room.

Spencer Those went away. Those opportunities went away.

Christian Yeah, it's okay. I think, to a certain extent, that we
stumbled our way through it, and we're continuing to
kind of refine this process because it's it's a very new
way of doing things. Another thing that struck me quite
interesting that you said, Spencer, was that meetings
are a way for us to hold each other accountable, which
is absolutely true. How many of us have weekly meetings
and then we realize the day before or 3 hours before,
oh, I was supposed to do this, right? We're kind of
cramming it in just so we can kind of save face in a
meeting. And the question is, is that still the best way
to make sure that things are getting done and hold
people accountable? Are there other things that can be
done, other kinds of ways to make sure that people are
held accountable and they don't wait a week. They sit
around and do nothing for five days and then it's like,
oh shoot, I got to get this done because I got a meeting
coming up and it's a very natural thing. We've kind of
grown up doing that. Yeah, I learned that in school.

Spencer And I think that's just lack of discipline and poor self
management. It has nothing to do with the fact that it's
a meeting. But what does happen and what you've
identified is I want to make sure that I'm ready so that
I don't lose face with my team. Peer accountability or
peer pressure is a very useful tool. If every manager is
the one that's always holding everybody accountable,
that gets fatiguing, that gets old and it gets tiring.
But when you have a team of people that are counting on
you, think of projects that that you know if you're
working on a project, you're on a one week or a two week
scrum and a sprint and and excuse me, you're on a
sprint, and you have certain things that need to happen
for the next stage of the project to move on. You better
be ready. That's your job. It's not to do what, check
emails, talk to customers. No, it's your job to get the
stuff done that moves the project forward or the team
forward or the strategic plan forward or whatever it is
that you committed to. And if you're not there, then
you're going to have to stand in front of your peers and
say, I didn't do my homework. That's great incentive for
people, I think, to take that pressure away is a
mistake. I know in society today, there may be some
elements that say, well, we don't want to have that kind
of pressure and we don't want to have these kinds of
standards. Well, I sure hope we have standards for
certain professions. I mean, I want people who build my
buildings to make sure that they're following standards
so that the building doesn't fall down and I die. I want
a person who's operating on me to have certain standards
so that I live. You know what I'm saying? We need
standards. We need pressure. We need why do we go to the
gym? Pressure. That's what makes our muscles grow,
right? Why do you go out and run pressure that makes
your heart stronger. Pressure is good. It helps us to
perform. So anyway, I hope I would yeah.

Christian The way that I feel about that. I'm in agreement with
you, Spencer. So the way that I feel about that is, on
the one hand, you might be saying to people, oh, well,
we go to this meeting and it's a waste of our time.
Okay, well, maybe the hour that you spent there could
have been better planned and constructed and conducted,
but there were. And I think it's important to
acknowledge that there were productivity gains by simply
calling the meeting. Because if you didn't call the
meeting and nobody is held accountable, then nothing
gets done. At least it gives us, like you said, it gives
us some motivation to get some wins on the board so that
we don't show up like a loser.

Spencer Right, christian, that's a bare minimum. That's the
lowest common denominator. Show up to have what you
committed to. But I'd be interested in any of our
listeners that are listening right now. What are
meetings like where you are? How are they productive?
Are they useful? Chime in. Type in on Facebook or
Twitter or LinkedIn or YouTube, whatever you're
listening to. We'd love to hear from you live. Let's so,
you know, I said 18% of teams are virtual, and we've
been talking about virtual. That means, Christian, that
82% of organizations are still meeting in person. As a
matter of fact, I just met with one of my clients this
morning in person. I didn't meet remotely. I went to
their office, and one of the things I discovered is
they're not having enough meetings. They need to have
more meetings because there is a lack of coordination,
there is duplication of effort, there is lack of
accountability, and meetings will allow them to happen.
What's ironic about this is what's getting in the way is
work. They're so busy with meeting their clients needs
or responding to this situation or this fire that it's
hard for them to schedule people in a meeting. But what
they would find is that once they create a certain
cadence of meeting, they will get more organized, they
will have more time, and they will be more responsive to
the things that they need to do. We spend so much time
on unproductive activities. And Parkison's law, I don't
know if you remember what Parkison's law is that is that
work expands to fill the time available. I think the
same happens with meetings. If we're not careful, our
meetings will expand, and we need to be very
disciplined. I heard one thought leader who used to be
on television say, you should start your meetings and
run your meetings like television studio runs their TV
shows. I mean, they're very strict with their time, and
they start with how much time you have, and they count
down, not count up. So by the time it gets to zero, that
meeting, you better be done. But before you leave that
meeting, people need to know what they've committed to
and be very clear about what's going to take place
before the next meeting. And I think managers are not
doing that. They're not saying, okay, we're having this
discussion. Who's owning this, who's owning that? And
when we get back next week, the expectation is from the
people who have accepted that, that they're going to
have X, Y and Z done.

Christian So a novel approach that I've seen some companies take.
One I've got experience with in particular is that they
built a new building, and in that building they had a
limited number of meeting rooms. What you found was that
the meeting rooms are always booked, and they're booked
in 30 minutes, increments.

Spencer But what kinds of pressure does that create for them to
manage their meetings?

Christian It creates good pressure because if you don't finish
your meeting on time, there's somebody else standing
outside waiting to get into the room. And so you've got
to you got to be very disciplined on when you start and
stop your meetings, because you can't just be hanging
around in this room for half a day. The meeting rooms
are in demand, and they have to be scheduled. And so
that creates that pressure to start on time, end on
time, like you see, like the TV show. Because at the top
of the hour, the channels changed, and you got the new
you got the new crew coming in, and if and if you don't
finish on time, you know, they're knocking on your door
saying, hey, you know, you're you're taking our time
away from us, you know, so you got to wrap it up. And I
think that works.

Spencer I think it does. You always have the greatest stories. I
know you do a lot of work internationally. I do work
internationally, and I'd love to hear your perspective
on you mentioned it in the very beginning that there's a
perception that maybe meetings are not as useful here in
the United States. What do you notice in other places
that you work around the world?

Christian Well, I think it varies, but doing a lot of work over in
Europe, in Switzerland, France, et cetera, there are
more meetings. But that's because the culture is driven
by consensus. And so everybody needs to have an
opportunity to have a voice. That means you've got to
call meetings. You got to have people in these meetings.
And I know sometimes people get frustrated that, oh, we
have too many meetings. But what they're really trying
to do is make sure that you actually do have consensus
and that everybody is in agreement. This is the path
we're taking forward. Everybody's had an opportunity to
have their say. Coming from the States over here, it
seems like it's an excessive number of meetings, but in
that culture, it is part of how you get things done. If
you just decide to go off on your own and do your thing,
you're going to run into big problems. You've got to
build that consensus. And so I was curious when I saw
the shopify auto. That's one of the things that I
thought about at the beginning when I first read it was,
well, how is this being rolled out globally? Because I
can see that making sense here in the States, we're not
going to have meetings with more than two people in
them. I don't know how that flies overseas. It'd be
interesting to see how their international employees are
viewing this new policy.

Spencer I think that's a great question. And again, I'm coming
from a perspective of productivity, of effective
meetings. And I understand the idea of consensus, and I
think that's great. However, there's more than one way
to get consensus. I mean, one of the challenges that you
have I mean, we strive for consensus here. I mean, think
of Congress right now. We're going through a process to
eliminate a speaker of the House and they're not
reaching consensus. And one of the problems is you have
so many people that you got to get on board. The more
people you have, the harder it is. And so that's not a
criticism. That's a democratic process. It's just a
reality. The more people you have, the harder it is to
reach consensus and the longer it takes with an
organization. And so you're talking about quasi
governmental organizations. And so that's understandable
when we're thinking of a private firm, typically
efficiency is probably higher on the list. But there are
organizations even here in the United States that have
that same consensus mentality. They want buy and from
the entire team. And I think that that idea is really
good. The challenge that we have is that when do you
stop inviting people? I mean, who doesn't get to come in
and have consensus? I think there needs to be a
waterfalling of buy in or consensus. It can't all happen
in one meeting all the time. So stakeholders that need
to be part of a policy decision, I mean, there's many
kinds of meetings. Let's clarify that. Not every meeting
is a policy meeting or a strategic meeting or an issue
resolution type of meeting. So if you have one of those
types of meetings, you need to make sure that everybody
that is impacted by the issue or the problem or the new
strategic direction has a say that is important, but not
all of their direct reports. I mean, at some point there
needs to be a limit as to who is in that meeting. The
more people you have, the harder it is to come to
resolution. But if you start with a more tight knit
executive team that represents everybody's interests,
you can create a representative form of consensus,
right? You start there and then you create that
alignment that is waterfall down throughout the
organization. And it is each department head's job to
make sure that they're on board with the direction and
help their teams get by in and get their feedback and
weigh in all the way down until those concerns are
resolved. And then there is consensus throughout the
organization. And that's just part of the work of
leadership and management that has to be done. And
that's a great use of meetings.

Christian Well, I'm a big fan of coming from a project based
environment. I'm a big fan of creating.

Spencer There.

Christian Are various terms for what I call project definition
documents, right?

Spencer Yeah.

Christian And in those, what you do is you identify the teams and
everybody's roles and responsibilities and then you
create these racy matrices, right, where, okay, you

Spencer Explain racism because somebody might get the wrong

Christian It's like responsible, accountable, consulted, informed.

Spencer Right.

Christian So there are various ways of constructing those. But the
idea is that you understand this is the role that I play
here. So you don't need to invite everybody to a
meeting. That's just to be informed. They could be
informed in different ways. You could send out an email
update or you can put an update up on the SharePoint
side or whatever it is, and they can stay informed that
way. But if you're trying to get certain things done,
then have the people in the meeting that can actually
make the decisions to do what needs to be done. Right.
You don't necessarily need to involve everybody. And the
way you come to an agreement or a consensus at the
beginning is you define and agree at the outset. Okay,
this is what has to be done. And here are the people's
roles and responsibilities on doing this. We all agree?
Yes. Okay.

Spencer What do I, as a leader listening to this right now, have
to do differently or better to do what you just said?

Christian That's a really good question, but really and again, I'm
coming at this from more of a project focused mentality,
but it's at the initiation of it is getting agreement on
what is the objective of the project, what are the
scope, what are the deliverables, the timelines, et
cetera. And then who is involved in delivering this. And
it may not be just people in my company or in my
department or my team. We may have other stakeholders
outside that are involved too. So you have committees
that have terms of reference that describe what the role
is, but everybody agrees to that. Once you've got the
rules of a game established, then you can move forward.

Spencer So that's the key to me, is that you create those
standards in advance and say, this is how we operate and
this is what's expected, and then create standards for
having effective meetings. And I think really, that's
one of the big keys, is you need to have a guideline,
you need to have a discipline. As a leader, there's so
many different I'm a huge proponent of behavioral
diversity. All of the different styles of leaders out
there that are listening to this will lead. And manage
differently. Some love the idea that we talked about a
countdown clock. Others are like, oh, my gosh, I can't
think with that level of restriction. But it's going to
require some level of discipline, and that is creating
standards. This is who we involve and making hard
decisions. Some people don't need to be there, but
sometimes we're like, well, I want this person to be
there because I think they should hear it. That's also a
second level manager might feel like, well, I want this
person to be there because it's easier for them to just
have them in the meeting rather than have to relay that
information. So it requires discipline at all levels,
and if you create a process for doing that, I think that
really helps. Sorry.

Christian Click on the trigger. No, it's all good. Coming back to
the standards thing, and you were talking pretty
passionately about that in terms of individuals, hey, I
don't want to go see a doctor that doesn't have these
standards. I mean, you flew from Des Moines, Iowa, to
Denver, Colorado. You felt safe that you could do that
because the company has standards and there's a regular
standard. Right. It's not like while you're mid flight,
the flight attendants are having conversations about,
well, what do you think the safety features should be on
this plane? And what should we do in case of an
emergency? I'm not sure. Should we call a meeting? But
hey, everybody stop. Just stop serving the guests here.
Stop serving the passengers. We're going to convene a
meeting and figure out what we're going to do in case of
an emergency. I mean, that's ludicrous. Or you mentioned
the Rose Bowl. Unfortunately, our team lost. Right. But
it's not like in the second quarter. The referees get
together and say, so what are the rules today for this
game? What should we do? How many downs does each team
get before they have to how many yards do they have to
go? All that stuff is figured out ahead of time.

Spencer Ahead of time, exactly. And that will create a system
where that people can buy into it more readily and you
stick with it. And that's your job as a leader, is to
adhere to those standards that hopefully you've gotten
consensus on beforehand. And if the standard needs to
change, that's okay, so let's talk about this idea that
some people say that they truly are in too many
meetings. What do you say to that?

Christian Well, you answer a question with the question, which is,
what kinds of meetings are you in? What are you getting
done in these meetings? Right. Right. If the question is
I say nothing, I just sit there. Maybe my camera is on
mute and I'm playing on my phone, and some manager is
just giving an update for an hour and talking the entire
time, then, you know what? That's probably not the best
use of your time. It probably is not the most optimal

Spencer If you're listening to this and you want some resources
on how to run meetings, there's lot of great meetings. I
mean, Harvard Business Review has a lot of great stuff.
Patrick Lynchioni actually has a whole metaphor, one of
his parables about meetings. I hate those parables. I'm
sorry Patrick, but I do love your book. I'm more
literal. I'm really so impressed with your ability to
come up with these metaphors. But I really love that
book called The Advantage. And the last chapter is
brilliant and it is all about meetings. And I really
agree with his approach to meetings. There's multiple
kinds of meetings. We have stand up huddles and those
should be ten minutes. Some of my clients need those on
a daily basis just to have a quick coordination. And
it's ten minutes you stand up. Why? Because you want to
keep it moving. Well, that's one type of meeting and
that's just quickly. Any problems that you need to have
today? Anybody need help from each other? It's just a
quick check in and off you go. Then you have your
regular staff meetings, which in some cases are just a
return and report. And that's a great type of meeting
for accountability that needs to be extremely
disciplined. But then there are what we call ad hoc
meetings. You don't want to have everything discussed in
every meeting because that's where we lose focus and
we're not being productive in our meetings. But with
these ad hoc meetings, what you do is they're scheduled
as needed. An issue comes up that is too big to deal
with. In the staff meeting we say, hey, I'm having a
problem with we're like, okay, so let's schedule a time
and the only agenda item is to solve that. And that's
where we come to consensus and fix. That's where we say,
okay, who needs to be involved in this? What are their
roles? Just like you talked about and we have the ad hoc
meeting. We solve the problem. That's productive, it's
getting work done. And then the last type of meeting is
where we have professional development. We have
offsites, those may be quarterly or semiannually, where
we talk about how are we doing to our goals and meeting
our strategic plan deadlines or what do we need to do to
up our skill. And we do training and we do development.
Those are all different types of meetings. And so here's
the calculus that he does that he uses to respond to
people say, well, I'm in too many meetings and so I'm
going to read it because I love it. So he says, when
everyone challenges me on the practicality of having
four different types of meetings, I add them all up and
the time they would spend in those given meetings in a
month. And basically he does 2 hours a week and staff
meetings, 6 hours on topical meetings, ten minutes a
day, blah, blah, blah. That's basically 12 hours a
month. But I'm on more than one team, right, so I'm
going to have multiple meetings. He says, well, assuming
a 50 hours work week, that's 13% of your time. If you
work 45 hours, that's just 14%. That means we're
spending a maximum amount of time at each meeting,
something few teams need to do. More than 85% of our
time is still available for whatever else we do. So what
about those that say, well, I have multiple teams, blah,
blah, blah? Still, even he's saying, what else do you
have that's more important to do if you're managing your
team, if you're coaching them, if you're developing
them, if you're helping them, that's done in meetings
extremely effectively, and a lot of managers don't know
how to do that in front of other people. And that's
where the work that you and I do comes in, is how do you
teach whoever's running the meetings to run them
effectively in a way that gets the most out of people,
it gets people coming prepared, that gets people excited
to be there and recognized for their efforts, feeling
like they're making a difference. If I'm sitting in a
meeting, Christian, and I have no input, I have no
value, I'm probably going to be demotivated, I'm
probably going to be frustrated. But if I have a say and
I have input, I'm valued and I'm appreciated for what I
bring to the table and my ideas, not all of them, but
some of them might might fructify and benefit the
organization. Doesn't that I think that's a great win.
So if you're having shopify, if you're having 76,500
hours of meetings that are unproductive, cancel that.
Save the 100 million and start having meetings that are
productive so that you can continue to be successful as
an organization and keep your people connected and to
the mission, to each other, to the work, to the

Christian Well, Spencer, I think if I enjoyed this meeting with
you, the two of us are our regular meeting. I always
learn a ton from you. So this is definitely very
productive time for me, and I appreciate you educating
me along with all of our listeners on this topic. Is
there anything else that you want to say to wrap up or
we get right to the end of it?

Spencer No, I think first of all, you're very gracious because I
feel like I always learn from you. And I'll tell you
what I'd like to say before we end. Thank you for those
of you who join with us and listen. And next Tuesday, we
don't always do these podcasts at the same time. And the
reason is that Christian is very busy. I'm very busy. So
sometimes we just have to do them when we can do them
and we fit them in. And hopefully you can join us when
you can. But next Tuesday at 10:00, a.m. Mountain time,
that's noon Eastern time, we have an incredible guest.
Her name is Teresa Lawrence, PhD. And basically we're
going to be having an incredible conversation. And the
conversation is cognitive diversity. And I'm excited
about it because I talk about behavioral diversity. And
she and I have had I was so excited when I heard her
speak at the PMI conference in Las Vegas. And she's a
dynamic speaker. She is really exciting, and she's
actually done behavioral assessments that I haven't done
before on both of us. And I haven't seen the results of
mine, and I know you haven't, but here's the idea of our
topic next Tuesday. What if you could capture and
capitalize on the thinking preferences of everyone on
your team? Just as people have preferences for food
colors, they also have measurably different preferences
when it comes to solving problems or tackling challenges
and how they show up in meetings right. Which will be a
great segue into next week. Some people seek to clarify
the issue or the problem. What's next? What's the data
others prefer to develop let's work out the kinks first,
while others are inclined to implement. Let's do let's
act. Let's go. And so we'll talk a little bit about
that. We'll talk about our styles. We'll totally expose
ourselves next week. And so hopefully you'll join us
with that. And you're going to learn a ton from her. I
think she's a great speaker, and we're going to have
lots of fun. So that's what I end with. And Christian,
I'm just so glad to be with you. I know you got lots of
meetings to go to this afternoon. You got great things
working on again with some I don't know if you want to
talk about it, but I think people ought to know all the
great things you're doing.

Christian Oh, well, we've accepted an assignment or company to
support Salt Lake City and the state of Utah's Olympic
bid aspirations. So I'm very excited about that. Right
after this call, I'll be hopping on another call with
the bid. But I will say, Spencer, that I am interested
and excited to expose ourselves intellectually and
emotionally and mentally, not necessarily physically,
with our listeners and viewers. But Spencer, we just
touched the tip of the iceberg. You have so much
knowledge and expertise in this particular area. We're
going to see some more on Tuesday. I'm so excited for
our conversation with Teresa. But in the meantime, if
anybody wants to get a hold of you and learn how you can
help them have better meetings, be more productive teams
and leaders, what's the best way for them to contact

Spencer Reach out to me on LinkedIn. Just message me, Spencer
Horn. You'll see me there and message me there. I think
that's the easiest way we'll we'll connect. And and
Christian, how about you? You get you're going to use
rakunto as a part of the services you're providing,
right? I mean, your storytelling and capturing tool for
organizations. How can people learn more about that

Christian Just reach out to me on LinkedIn. Just look for
Christian Napier on LinkedIn. You'll see me and and I
look forward to connecting with anyone and everyone who
wants to learn more about how we might be able to help
their organizations as well. Okay, well, it's been a
fantastic 45 minutes of conversation here, Spencer. I
really appreciate you taking time and adjusting your
schedule to accommodate my schedule. And listeners and
viewers, we appreciate you too, and we ask you to like
and subscribe to our podcast and stay with us and come
back on Tuesday. The what is that? The 10 january 10:00.
A.m. Mountain time for a special episode with Theresa.
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The Calendar Purge
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