One of my colleagues recently had a public explosion about his disdain for unnecessary, last-minute meetings. I've been thinking about this regularly and I want to suggest a solution which combines suggestions from several different business authors. First, I need to provide some context about their background.

In Patrick Lencioni's 2004 book "Death By Meeting", he suggests that attending meetings is the most important work executives do. I agree. Poorly run meetings waste time, money, effort, and are completely enervating. Lencioni describes the following plan:

Jocko Willink and Leif Babin discuss the concept of "leadership capital" in their 2018 book "The Dichotomy of Leadership". They assert that leaders have a fixed amount of authority and influence. It can be invested wisely by enforcing important work standards and encouraging difficult but necessary changes. It can also be squandered on expense report penny-pinching or political loyalty to failing projects. John Maxwell describes a similar approach using "spare change" in "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership", originally published in 1998, again using monetary terms to measure a leader's capability.

I'm proposing the introduction of "meeting capital". All will agree that "sharing information" is among the worst reasons to hold a meeting. Therefore, it is expensive in terms of meeting capital. Lencioni might call these "incidental clarity" meetings and they should be minimized. Recurring weekly tactical and monthly strategic meetings would cost less but still be deducted from the budget. Critical company-changing meetings where key decisions are made should be the least expensive and thus the most desirable to hold.

I've seen others try this approach except they've foolishly used time as the currency. For example, limiting total meeting time to 15 hours per week. The length of a meeting has no bearing on its value to the organization, just like hourly consulting rates do not align with measurable value creation.

Leaders should have a bias for action and all substantial meetings must involve clear decisions.

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