How to Avoid the Black Hole of Bad, Horrible, No-Good, Pointless Meetings

The Greatest Time Waster of Them All

The word “meetings” draws a variety of responses from people, but let’s be honest, it’s often negative.

I remember an old saying about the financial consequences of owning a boat. It went, “a boat is a hole in the water that you pour all your money into.” Funny enough, I think the person I first heard that from owned a boat!

We could apply this formula to meetings, too: meetings are just holes in the schedule that you pour time, effort, and resources into with little result. The difference between a boat and a meeting is that the boat is fun.

In spite of this, I don’t hate meetings. No, really, I don’t. Meetings can be productive, valuable gatherings where a bunch of people add value to one another and create something bigger than themselves, accomplish huge goals, and set a course for success. They really can be.

Between you and me and the fencepost, however, most meetings are pointless.

That’s why it’s amazing how, even in the era of high-tech communication tools and always-on messaging/e-mail, meetings are as big a factor as ever.

Meetings are, in fact, more present than they used to be. There’s Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, and so many other services that allow a large group of people to congregate online. The increasing number of businesses with remote employees guarantees that virtual meetings will only become more commonplace.

So how do you avoid the pointless meetings and have more good ones? My friend, you’ve come to the right place.

I’ve both run and participated in an awful lot of awful and good meetings in recent years. From my experience, here’s what distinguishes the best meetings from the worst.

What GE Teaches Us About Developing Leaders

Lessons From A Great Corporate Culture

General Electric recently announced that CEO Jeffrey Immelt would be retiring after 16 years at the helm of one of America’s most respected and enduring large corporations. Immelt followed the legendary Jack Welch, who spent 20 years at GE.

Without wading into the debate about Immelt’s performance, buried in the same news clips was a monumental lesson for anyone interested in how great organizations endure.

So what did GE do that was so monumental?

It replaced Immelt with John Flannery, the president and CEO of GE Healthcare. Here’s why that matters.

Flannery has worked his entire career at General Electric, working his way up from the bottom. So did Immelt. So did Welch. None of these men held any substantial long-term employment outside of, or before joining, General Electric.

General Electric as a company is engaged in many different sectors, from consumer products to finance to engineering. But one thing stands as the glue holding the company together: they develop their leaders from within the organization.

This matters for several reasons.