Redesign your meetings: lean meetings


Research and experience shows that managers of big companies spend up to 75% of their time in meetings and 50% of these meetings are seen as a waste of time! 


A method to (re)design your meetings in a more efficient and effective way.


Step 1:  Evaluate the current efficiency and effectiveness of your meetings by asking participants how they rate the meetings (effective, efficient, useful, inspiring?). Ask for tips on how to improve meetings. Take a moment to calculate how much cost in terms of time and money this will incur and compare this to the benefits. Share this with your team.

Step 2: Based on the results of step 1, start by implementing improvements, e.g. Short Cycle Steering.

Step 3: Conduct a short evaluation and deliver feedback at the end of each meeting. 

Basic skills and agreements:

  • Organize time to prepare for the meeting. Send participants the agenda and meeting papers in advance. 
  • Begin and end the meeting on time. Late-comers are responsible for missing part of the meeting; don’t repeat anything for them.
  • For everyone: be alert and to the point and don’t restate what has already been said.
  • Formulate clear action points at the end of the meeting and follow up! 
  • Make a list of actions and review the progress made at each meeting.
  • Address undesirable behavior and the impact of this behavior.
  • Give insight into the costs of inefficient meetings. Make these transparent.

In addition to these basic skills we recommend so-called Short Cycle Steering:

  • Remain standing during the meeting, this keeps things short!
  • Ensure agenda and performance indicators are always visible on screens (visual management).
  • Translate targets into sub-targets with a maximum realization time of 3 months. 
  • Establish fixed times during the week to discuss short-term targets. This produces focus and energy.
  • Compare actual performance with desired performance: what makes the difference? Ask the 5 Whys.
Skills and necessary training

Meeting facilitation skills.

Critical success factor


Iteratively working towards a goal: learning on the go, overcoming obstacles using small steps.

Possible workshop exercise

Make an agenda and prepare for a Short Cycle Steering meeting.