Work meetings can be essential for unlocking strategic ways to meet a goal—but they can quickly backfire if not careful. Overall, the general consensus for a large number of US workers is the latter: most meetings are unnecessary.
“The unprecedented disruption of the pandemic has fundamentally shifted the way we live, including re-thinking work and our relationship with it,” said Anne Raimondi, Chief Operating Officer, Asana in a news release. “As we transition into the new era of agile work, it’s crucial for organizations to connect their teams around clarity of purpose and a shared sense of accomplishment to ensure employees feel seen, heard and valued. In doing so, we can emerge from the burnout and bottlenecks of the past two years to chart a new path forward in the future of work.”
Productivity expert and CEO of software company Oboard Viktor Grekov offered some key tips for establishing OKRs (objectives and ey results) to eliminating time-sucking meetings without stepping on anyone’s toes.
1. Be “SMART” when setting goals.
Grekov shares that clarity is key when figuring out which meetings are needed.
“Establishing clear and focused objectives and key kesults (OKRs) can render many of the meetings in your calendar needless. When your goals are well-defined, team members will understand the expectations and priorities without the need for frequent check-ins. However, to avoid uncertainty (and the need for a face-to-face), any goal you set should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound, or in other words — SMART.”
2. Let technology handle progress tracking.
One of the key ways to see an uptick in productivity is utilizing the right tools to take some of the load off your plate. Scheduling, or cancelling meetings is no exception.
“A third of workers have attended a meeting that they think could have been an email… and they’re probably right,” Grekov says. “How much time is wasted providing status updates in meetings that could be communicated through automated progress emails or a digital collaboration tool? By implementing a tracking system for your OKRs, your team will have more time to focus on addressing roadblocks, adjusting strategies, and achieving progress.”
3. Set the goal, not the steps.
Grekov says one of the best ways to eliminate unnecessary team check-ins is by simply getting out of the way.
“Remember, each member of your team has the credentials to do their job,” he says. “They don’t need you to micromanage… They need you to lead. It’s best to take an outcome-oriented approach over a task-based one, emphasizing the desired goal rather than the steps they should take to achieve it. With a little trust, you will find that they’re perfectly capable of delivering results without the need for daily meetings and constant monitoring.”
Don’t have OKRs set up yet? Rather than individual tasks, assign a desired outcome and let your team get on with it. By offering trust and flexibility, your team will show its talent without the need for endless oversight.
4. Foster transparency in communication.
“OKRs shouldn’t be siloed — After all, the entire company should share the same primary goal. Open communication and understanding are crucial, but that doesn’t require a calendar full of meetings between different teams and departments. Rather, it needs everyone to be on the same page and understand each other’s functions (which can be achieved just as well through shared documentation, regular email updates, or a dedicated collaboration platform).”
Don’t have OKRs set up yet? Set up a shared document or communication channel for project updates, milestones, and challenges. This will keep all departments well informed without requiring yet another meeting.
5. Encourage asynchronous communication.
“Constantly pausing progress on an important task to attend another needless meeting or answer another trivial email is a real drain on productivity,” he says. “However, this is easily avoided by adopting an async mindset, where colleagues are encouraged to communicate and collaborate at their own time and pace through email, text or video messages. With fewer interruptions, this approach allows teams to focus on the task at hand and achieve deep thought, while enabling greater collaboration between colleagues in different time zones.”