As you folks know I occasionally recruit experts to come share their perspectives on this blog. Lately I have a hot button (and it launches a nuke) for meetings (for example, check out this post on the topic). So who better to have share some thoughts on how to fix the issue than Meeting Boy himself? For you twitter fans out there I am sure you will recognize @MeetingBoy and for those who haven’t met him yet, strap yourselves in. If you thought I was edgy wait until you get a taste of Meeting Boy’s perspectives on the topic. Just to give you a taste of his perspective, here’s a sample of his tweets:
– Let’s say “excellence” a few more times. That should solve everything.
– The project is poorly managed. What was your first clue? Four people managing three workers? Let’s start there.
– When I asked you to repeat what I said in your own words, I didn’t mean start presenting the idea as your own.
– This presentation is double-sided, so while it wastes the same amount of time, it wastes half as much paper.
– **High Priority** emails are just like regular emails except the sender has a very high opinion of themselves.
Yes we’re here to bash meetings but it gets better! Not only is Meeting Boy here to share some ideas, he and I are launching a meeting revolution for 2011. It all starts with this Meeting Limitation Act (sorta like the Contract With America or the Patient’s Bill of Rights only better). Meeting Boy and I are co-sponsoring this non-partisan legislation and we’re looking for you to both sign the petition and add amendments to the Meeting Limitation Act by commenting on the post.
So without further ado, I’ll let Meeting Boy kick off the premise behind this landmark legislation and we’ll explain how you can help workers around the world get this bill passed by signing the petition, forwarding it, and adding amendments. Heeeeere’s Meeting Boy!
Remember on Seinfeld how the shortage of contraceptive sponges made Elaine more selective about which men she’d sleep with? She had to decide if each guy was “sponge-worthy” and she suddenly became more selective. The Meeting Limitation Act uses the same premise to ration meeting time.
Everything else we’ve tried to make meetings more productive has failed. Once the Chief Operating Officer demanded people publish an agenda. Another time employees were empowered to walk out on any meeting if it went past the published time. Both of these failed within a month. Of course they did because bosses hold meetings, and no one wants to walk out on their boss or say they won’t come to a meeting because it lacks an agenda. You don’t get to keep your job doing this; your boss will find a way to retaliate or dismiss you.
The Meeting Limitation Act fixes that dynamic. The main provision is that managers may call only 25 meetings of 3 or more people per year, not to exceed more than 36 hours total per year. Now I don’t have to tell my boss I won’t come to a meeting – instead the person who apportions the conference rooms tells him he can’t have a room if he’s already booked 25 meetings that year. She doesn’t report to my boss, and doesn’t care if he feels he’s entitled to hold as many pointless meetings as he wants. She just refuses him. End of story.
The Meeting Limitation Act of 2011
Be it resolved that:
Article 1: Every manager shall forthwith be able to call only 25 meetings of 3 or more people per year, not to exceed more than 36 hours total per year. Under this Meeting Limitation Act one of two things will happen:
– We’ll have the usual number of time-wasting meetings per week, but then be done with meetings by mid-February and can work the rest of the year in peace, OR
– Our boss decides that most things aren’t “meeting-worthy” and we only have one meeting every two weeks, which will force it to be about important things.
Article 2: This bill prohibits holding “happy hours,” “fun days,” or any other cleverly disguised ruse to hold a team meeting. If 3 or more people are to meet during company time it shall count against a manager’s cap of 25 meetings per year.
Article 3: This bill shall prohibit managers who don’t use all their meetings from selling them to managers who use more. There shall be no cap-and-trade provision for meetings as it is an enabler of bad behavior and illicit profiteering on the backs of the working class.
Article 4: All restrictions placed on number of meetings also apply to conference calls.
Enforcement: This provision will be enforced by the person who books the conference rooms, and this person cannot report to any manager who holds meetings to avoid undue pressure.
Signed and dutifully co-sponsored by,
Mike Figliuolo and Meeting Boy
There it is folks. The first draft of the Meeting Limitation Act. Think about it. Call your congressman. Of course the GOP may try to block the Meeting Limitation Act, on the grounds that it is anti-boss and the Democrats might block it because it doesn’t allow labor to organize. Either party may filibuster it, but we’re used to being filibustered – most of our status meetings are filibusters as far as we can tell. Eventually this will become law, and when it does, we want the pens the President uses to sign it into law.
Add your own suggestions for amendments to the Act by commenting on this post. Feel free to add as many meeting earmarks as you think should be included in the bill. And last but not least, sign our petition and share it with your friends by CLICKING HERE: http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/meetinglimitationact.
If you aren’t quite sure yet if you should sign the petition and lack clarity on what kind of topics are meeting- worthy, here are a few examples:
– Critical failure on the web site and how to prevent the next one – meeting-worthy.
– Weekly status – not meeting-worthy!
– Touch-base about that thing that the client may never approve – not meeting-worthy!
– A vendor was in and showed the boss a shiny new toy, which he now wants – not meeting-worthy!
– Acquisition integration meeting to determine which names go in the new org chart – meeting-worthy.
– Too much food is getting left in the fridge each week – not meeting-worthy!
– Should we have pesto chicken or chicken parmigiana at the next department luncheon – not meeting-worthy!
See? There really isn’t that much that is truly meeting-worthy. Now get petitioning and start amending via comments! Better yet, use the image accompanying this post as your new avatar as a sign of solidarity with those of us looking to end the meeting madness! We also invite you to join the movement by subscribing to The thoughtLEADERS Blog by CLICKING HERE. See you all at next year’s meeting!