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Meetings: An essential building block of an organizational productivity

Meetings have earned a reputation of a waste of time. A well deserved reputation in many situations. Many people often spend their entire day or week in meetings with nothing much to show for it. In the opinion of many it is indeed a wasted time.

Why do we not have anything to show for all these meetings? It is after all the place where a consensus is achieved, a decision is reached, an action plan is created, an idea gets shot and company or the group changes course, new employees get hired, layoff decisions are taken, companies raise capital, go bankrupt and so much more that gets accomplished in so called “waste of time” meetings.

This is not to say that the meetings don’t waste time. But there is enough written about it that I am not going to elaborate it here or present my opinion on how to run an effective meeting. You can do a Google search and the number of results will simply astound you.

What I do want to talk about is the knowledge that is created in these meetings. Where is it? Did we capture it and put it to a good use? And how is it connected to the rest of the work of the organization. Who is organizing it and how? How are we learning from it?

The answer in most cases is that none of it is done. The meeting notes reside in individual notepads which are never looked at. Meeting minutes are created to capture the key findings and lose all the nuances of the discussions. Truly a lost opportunity to capture knowledge.

Imagine a scenario, The agenda, attendees and the discussions are captured in rich details and shared with everyone in real time. Easily achieved in many of the no-code tools like notion or even in places like Google docs. One can even capture the audio and later convert it to the text for the enhanced richness. The habitual late comers and people who could not join the meetings now have access to a richer discourse.

Taking it a step further the meeting notes are connected to a database where all the decisions taken in the meeting are recorded. The biggest time waster finding the answers to who took what decision and why is simply a thing of the past. Now, if you are really into organizational productivity connect the meetings and the decisions taken to a “do list” database. Better yet plan out the time on a common calendar which is shared with the team.

A topic which is barely on the radar of the most business leaders is an unplanned loss of organizational knowledge. Imagine the accumulated thoughts and discussions over last year or better yet few decades. We have the tools to mine such a rich set of data which is unique to your organization. A knowledge which is simply lost for not paying attention.

The resulting benefits of such a system are enormous. People now know what they need to do and when (the do list) and why (the decisions) and what prompted the decision (the meeting notes). The biggest waster of organizational resources – people working on something that they never needed to do or worst working on the wrong thing and for the wrong reason. The accountability, collaboration and productivity soars.

How do you implement such a system. Easy! First of all you don’t need any fancy new software. You most probably have all the tools that you need. For a better organization look into no-code tools like notion or coda. MuZero will be releasing a simple free template that you can easily customize it for your own unique situation.

Happy meetings!

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