Increase Productivity by Using This Secret
It was important for Robert to increase productivity. As a regional sales director for a major pharmaceutical firm in the U.S. he has a lot on his plate.
Working with him, I realised that he, like many other individuals in a similar role, was spending a lot of time attending meetings, either in-person or online. It was common for him to spend 6 to 8 hours per week in meetings.
What an immense waste of time!
Yep, you read that right. I just typed above "What an immense waste of time."
"If you want to increase productivity, decrease the number of meetings you attend each week."
Personally, I'm a big believer in less meetings and more focus on essentials.
What do you think Robert and his colleagues could have been doing to make better use of their time instead of spending so much of it in meetings?
Why Meetings Kill Productivity
Meetings kill productivity for two simple reasons.
1. Meetings take time away from other essential activities you should be focusing on to build a high performance team.
2. Most meetings are fundamentally unproductive.
In this post I'm only going to address the issue of why most meetings are fundamentally unproductive, as well ask you to try an experiment with your sales management team.
The reason for this is that large numbers of individuals have no clue about the fundamentals of scheduling and conducting productive meetings.
In Robert's case, there were some very obvious clues indicating that he was attending unproductive meetings.
First, at most of the meetings he would simply sit, listen, take a few notes, and leave once the meeting concluded.
Second, many of the meetings went 10 to 20 minutes overtime.
Third, in about 50 to 60 percent of the meetings there were no decisions made and no agreement about what actions needed to be taken.
Fourth, the scheduling of meetings was counter-productive to efficient scheduling of the work day, e.g., he'd have a meeting to attend first thing in the morning and then another one to attend immediately after lunch.
This meant that if Robert wanted to spend a day out in the field with one of his managers or sales reps, he'd only have a narrow window of time to get out before needing to return to the office, or finding a remote location to get online for the meeting.
Finally, at many meetings the discussion would get completely off topic.
These are five very common clues indicating unproductive meetings. Let's look at how to solve these issues and what Robert did to increase productivity and make valuable use of his precious time.
Increase Productivity Right Now
First and foremost, the most productive meetings are the ones not held.
That's right! I said that! The most productive meetings are the ones that are never held.
"The most productive meetings are the ones not held."
And I believe that many of you reading this would agree with me. Why do I believe this? Because time and time again I hear people complain about all of the meetings they're required to attend.
Now if all of those meetings were necessary, were truly productive, and were creating high performance teams and contributing to an increase in sales, I doubt we'd hear any complaints, right?
But the fact is that in most cases - not all, but most - when you're in a meeting you're not working on your business.
There are exceptions, to be sure, but I believe that to increase productivity there needs to be a fundamental change in the attitude people have about scheduling and holding meetings.
So here's a secret that I'd like you to start trying to increase productivity for both you and your sales team.
1) Choose one week, very soon, when you're sales management team will not hold any meetings. Not one. None.
If there's something really urgent that could affect a business outcome, handle the matter using either email or telephone AND only involve individuals whom really need to be involved.
Everyone else can be notified by email after the matter is handled, BUT only if they need to be notified. If not, then don't waste your time or their time emailing them about something that doesn't affect them.
During this week, sales directors and managers should be focused on working on their business, particularly using the extra time they're going to have to work with their sales reps.
Do this for just one week and see what happens to your business.
After this test week, get everybody together, either physically or on a teleconference, and ask them what it felt like to go five days without one meeting as a sales management team.
What did they accomplish during the meeting-free week?
How much more time did they have to spend with their team members?
Did the business suffer because there were no meetings?
Were any customers lost because the sales management team didn't hold any meetings?
How many of them were chomping at the bit to get back into the regular routine of a meeting-filled work week?
What did everyone learn from testing out the meeting-free week?
Were team members able to increase productivity without the meetings?
I'm really interested in knowing your team's answers to the above questions, so get going. Plan your meeting-free week right now and once it's done get back to me with your answers.
Because I'm pretty sure I know what they're going to be.
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Sales directors come to me when they are sick and tired of feeling overwhelmed and like they don't have enough quality time to spend with their sales managers and teams. My clients value my ability to help them identify and eliminate non-essential activities they are spending way too much time on, and focus in on the high-value activities that re-ignite their passion, engage and inspire their teams, and help retain their top talent.
If you'd like to see if I can help you, feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call: +49 152 3851 9674