Continuing our series on Meeting villains, today we are talking about The Meet-Head.
The Dreaded Invite:
You dread when you see the meeting invite from him. He has scheduled 4 meetings with you already this week, and those meetings digressed into him updating a spreadsheet on the projector while everyone sat and watched.
Does he understand how unproductive it is when he calls a meeting for every single thing he is working on?
You contemplate declining the meeting, but you are concerned that an important decision will be made and you will not be kept in the loop (He never sends out meeting notes).
You have a twinge of sickness in the bottom of your stomach as you hit Accept on the meeting invite.
If the story above sounds familiar, you may be dealing with a “Meet-Head“. Meet-Heads come in all sizes, shapes, and forms… so they can sometime be mistaken for important decision makers (Many times, they will even try to masquerade as decision makers).
The following are some tips that can help you spot a Meet-Head:#1 They are never at their desk. If you actually do catch them at their desk and you have a simple 10 second question for them… they will typically say: “I don’t have time to discuess that right now. Can you schedule a meeting on my calendar to talk about it?”
#2 Inability to make a decision or get anything done on their own. They will never make a decision or take responsibility for something. They will always call a meeting to get people’s input or to get help doing their work.
#3 Always calls a meeting for any issue. No matter how small the issue is, they will call a meeting for it. They feel that everyone must be included in every issue.
#4 Have conference rooms blocked for no reason. If you have a conference room scheduling app, they will have confernece rooms blocked even without having a meeting planned. When you ask them about it, the response goes something like this: “Well, we may need to talk about some of the issues that might come up with the project xyz deployment this week, so I blocked off the room just in case.”
Decide to Act:
If you don’t do something about the Meet-Head, you may run the risk of an even more serious problem: Meeting Zombie Culture. It is true… the Meet-Head can infect others with his infectious behavior. Next thing you know, everyone in your company is slowly walking from conference room to conference room… moaning about how they can’t get anything done.
What to Do:
Get the facts:
Metrics – Track the number of meetings that they organize. If they are calling more than 2-3 meetings a day, they may have a problem.
Understand – Figure out why are they calling so many meetings. Do you have a larger issue of people in your company not being accountable… could this be why they are calling meetings?
Give constructive feedback – “Tom, I know everyone on this meeting invite is really busy, can you cancel this meeting and just have everyone send you status?”
Acceptance or Denial – Figure out if they understand that the number of meetings they call is a problem. If they don’t understand they have a problem, they will not know that they need to improve.
Support Group – Other people need to understand the problem as well, you can’t take on a Meet-Head alone. Send an email to the group reminding everyone that unnecessary or ineffective meetings can be costly and slow down everyone’s success.
Focus on improving the meetings they organize. Based on feedback from our users, having more effective meetings will typically reduce the amount of meetings that they need to hold.
Help guide the Meet-Head to make sure that his meetings have:
- Well Planned Agendas
- Meeting Minutes Sent Out Immediately
- Action Items with Clear Next Steps (that don’t include: “Hold another meeting”)
If you can’t help the Meet-Head improve, you may have an HR problem to deal with (or potentially you should start looking for a new company to work with).
If you have other suggestions on how to deal with Meet-Heads, I would love to hear them in the comments below or email me at Brett@LessMeeting.com