Many teams endure too much time wasted in unproductive meetings. I am increasingly convinced that this is not due to a lack of knowledge.
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We are awash in information about How to plan and run productive meetings. We have centuries of useful tips and multiple professions full of people who know how to structure and lead a productive meeting to draw upon.
I believe instead that those ineffective meetings are a systemic issue. If leaders really wanted to address their meeting problems, they could - but they don't.
Something gets in the way. That something is baked into the team culture. It's the
"how things get done around here." It's a system that has no allowance for making changes to meetings.
Of course, the company handbook doesn't decree that "Thou shalt run soul-sucking meetings." If the meetings are bad and we're not talking about the meetings, then that's a shadow system. Shadow systems are full of unwritten rules, workarounds, and habits governing how people interact. Part ingenuity, part social conformity, and a whole bunch of just not looking too closely because we have other priorities right now thank you very much.