In my very first engagement as a McKinsey consultant, we were trying to schedule a meeting with a senior leader at a pharma client. She literally threw up her hands, saying, “I am back to back with meetings the whole day.”
I was sorely tempted to ask her, ‘When do you get to do real work?’ But of course, I held back diplomatically.
When I quit the IPS, I thought this toxic culture of meaningless meetings was specific only to government. Then I found that this seems to be a species-wide problem.
It is incredible that we try to hire the best talent, train them, and then give them little time to work peacefully.
Now I am not saying that meetings are totally useless, but half the people present are just whiling away their time. They got invited because there was no cost to wasting their time.
Imagine this – If I had to pay Rs 100 for each hr of every meeting invitee, would I call just as many people?
Our colleagues’ time is not free. But the penalty for consuming it recklessly is zero. Naturally, we respect it as much as water getting wasted from a public tap – zilch.
Ask the person calling a meeting to justify every invitee, even if in one sentence.
It is time to stop this craziness. Let us allow people to enjoy their work.