Does your agenda need a good prune?

Dedicate your next executive team meeting to creating an “inaction” list

Every meeting your organisation holds generates more and more action points to be piled on people’s heads. How about breaking the pattern, just once? The next time you get your management team together, use it to remove things from your plate.

What meetings and reports can we manage without? If we lay out and prioritise the full list of projects we are attempting, can we drop the bottom 20%? What are the top 3 misalignments that contradict our values? What processes, policies and reports can we scrap? What things are we pretending we will do, but secretly know that we won’t? What are we currently doing that, given a blank piece of paper, we would not start again? What are we spending time on that is not critical to our strategy? It may help to have this meeting facilitated to cut the deadwood systematically without pointing fingers or triggering defensiveness about pet projects.

The persistent reason that organisations make slow progress towards their strategy is that people are too busy on other things. Your people’s time is your organisation’s scarcest resource – it can’t be substituted for money.

Considering that every other meeting held adds to the agenda, surely it is worth some management time dedicated to pruning it back occasionally? Every gardener knows their rosebushes grow stronger and more vigorously after a good pruning.

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