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Time Starved? How to Keep Meetings Short

January 11, 2013
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225481

Time is often the enemy of entrepreneurs. Countless lengthy troubleshooting meetings take away from the strategic planning needed to stay on the right track.

It doesn't have to be this way.

Over the years, I've developed a method to keep status-update meetings as short as five minutes.

I call it the "five-minute stand-up," and it's about the questions that I expect an employee to have answers to if he or she stops me between meetings to give me an update.

The five-minute stand-up is all about creating a culture of accountability around your business that empowers your people to handle issues on their own without pushing decision making up the chain, because time is money.

Related: The Best Way to End a Meeting (Video)

An employee who doesn't get this might say, for example, "We lost last year's training receipts during our office move. What should we do about it?"

Instead, they should say, "We're on hold when it comes to determining return on investment for last year's training. That's because we lost last year's training receipts during our recent office move. I'll contact the training firms we used to get duplicate receipts, get us moving forward again on this by the end of the week."

The first statement would start a lengthy discussion. The second statement I can sign off on within five minutes, and off the employee goes.

So time-starved entrepreneurs, here is what you need to do to get your own troubleshooting meetings below five minutes:

Besides keeping meetings short, this system also lends itself well to mapping out tasks, and how they are moving core goals forward.

Consider trying this method. If you're not managing the way your people and associates solve the micro problems, then you're probably the one doing all the solving. When that happens, then you're not doing the big-picture stuff, such as trying to boost sales and promote the brand of your business.

Related: What I Learned About Great Meetings from Steve Jobs