This morning I sat and listened to Mark Cuban as the guest speaker closing the 2017 Venture Atlanta annual conference — which is the conference to attend for tech and capital in the South (disclosure: I am on on the board!). Mark shared thoughts on current areas of investment interest, tips for entrepreneurs on executing, tidbits of his own story and a response to the recent rumors of his potential run for presidential election in 2020.
As expected, he is awesome to see/hear in person but most importantly for me, it is refreshing to hear a speaker so candidly share — absent of polite niceties — on a variety of topics including leadership. Among the tidbits he shared about his own leadership style, he confirmed he is not “one for meetings”…”unless he is getting a check”. It was music to my ears as a reformed prisoner of back to back meetings in a 9-5 office setting.
Since leaving a COO role 12 months ago, I have made three tweaks to my communication with others, including meeting management, which has transformed my ability to think creatively, own my time and prioritize.
The first tweak is that I refuse to do powerpoint ever again. It is a time suck and distraction from the underlying conversation that I really want to have. My one confession on this point is that I do use Prezi occasionally when I am doing speaking gigs. It is fast, user friendly and web-based so there is little version control risk and it looks cool.
The second tweak is that I don’t initiate recurring meetings without an end date. They are my nemesis and become routine, they negate prioritization and fill people’s days without the necessary refreshing of the “why” we need the meeting and how we should run it.
The third tweak is that I don’t accept one hour meetings unless it is with my co-founders or customers. I still believe in the need for quality and quantity of time with fellow leaders of the company to talk about strategy. I also believe in customer conversations needing the room to breathe that a 60 minute block provides.
Finally, standing up meetings are very effective for me in reducing the time spent on topics that may not require more time — they are apparently up to 60% shorter on average. I can’t comprehend why we still have regular check-in meetings that reliably last for 60 minutes, and have done so for the last umpteen years, when in the fourth industrial revolution we are apparently moving at ten times the pace of the first industrial revolution.
Are meetings killing your motivation to do your best work? If so, I recommend thinking of Mark Cuban. He has done okay without lots of them…