"Many employees, one third of their working hours are in bad meetings, which means six lost weeks a year!"  In SvD debate the 28 April 2016 the so-called meeting culture day, Micke Darmell wrote about meetings and he believes that officials spend time on bad meetings at a cost of 170 billion every year!

We agree maybe it's time to do something about this!

Many organizations' meeting culture leads to stress, ill-health and great waste of time - why does this continue? Let us fish a little under the surface around these (contradictory) behaviors. The big question is; What makes this continue?

Meetings can be about the need for status among those who participate. By communicating to colleagues their views on important issues, telling what they achieve and taking the initiative at the meetings, you show how important you are. This is done, among other things, through long and detailed PowerPoints. Being at the center raises your brand to the skies.

We can also see more needs that the form of meeting meets, especially our need to belong to a group. In other words, there are strong factors that maintain the current meeting behavior and these are the ones we need to address to break the habit.

Like Micke, we believe that it is time to take a greater grasp of this in the workplaces and adopt a common policy for meetings. Here comes YESbox Talent's tips for healthier meeting culture:

  1. Make sure to prepare a clear agenda that is linked to the goals set for the business.
  2. Start the meeting by prioritizing which points are most important on the agenda.
  3. Require everyone to be prepared and have done what is expected - if not set the point on the agenda.
  4. Set up exact holding times for both the meeting and each point.
  5. Have a clear follow-up so that the work progresses towards the goals of each meeting.

In addition, we of course need to work with a culture where each employee knows their role, the company's goals and that employees' social needs are met. We are more controlled by our subconscious than we think and our basic needs sometimes play a trick on us. Therefore, it is important to understand subconscious driving forces in order to then be able to make real changes in practice.

We work from a model developed by David Rock from the Neuroleadership institute, which describes our needs. It assumes that our social needs are at least as strong as our survival needs, for the simple reason that in the beginning we were so dependent on each other to survive that one did not actually survive social exclusion. This remains in us yet today and is briefly described as the SCARF * model that stands for:

S status; And it is about feeling that you are important and what you do is counted on the job.

C - certainty; or predictability, which means that you know what applies and what should happen. That is, you have solid ground under your feet.

A - autonomy; or self-government which means that you have influence over your work and can make decisions about certain things.

R - relatedness; or good relationships, to feel togetherness and to belong to a group.

F - fairness; or justice. That there is a common set of rules that apply to everyone so that everyone is assessed according to the same yardstick and receives the same rewards.

The SCARF model shows that meetings are a way to fulfill one or more of these needs, but above all the need for status.
Something that also affects your status is having many appointments booked in your calendar, which indicates that you are an important person. And who hasn't given up sighing over the number of emails you receive per day, while at the same time tarnishing your reputation as a high achiever.

Is it also the case that the form of the meeting itself gives you predictability in a changing world - you know that you are doing the "right" thing during the time that the meeting occupies? By understanding our driving forces and creating a clearer meeting discipline, we get the tools we need to create a healthier meeting culture.

* David Rock has, from the brain research, found the five factors that form the basis of our social needs and call them SCARF. YESbox Talent starts from SCARF in many of our tools.