A habit is an acquired behavior that, over time, becomes nearly or completely involuntary. And no, it doesn’t happen overnight.
Some habits are good. Like looking both ways before crossing the street, and calling your mom on Mother’s Day. Other habits are bad. Like being perpetually late, and not calling your mom on Mother’s Day.
And then there are those habits that are, well, just kind of hanging around. Perhaps they started off as good habits but have outlived their usefulness and aren’t serving anyone well.
When it comes to your business, it’s important to constantly examine key behaviors to see which ones are purposeful and which are merely old habits. Ritualized routines may keep you busy, but intentional behaviors are what will get you where you need to go.
Every industry and organization follows procedures that make perfect sense in one context but might seem silly if implemented across the board. Take safety glasses, for instance. If you’re in manufacturing, wearing them is a necessary habit. But if you’re heading into a sales meeting with them on, we’re worried.
The key is to define your purpose and goals and continuously re-evaluate your practices until every single thing you do is aligned. Getting rid of extraneous behaviors and habits will free you up to concentrate on the things that matter most. If you’re looking for an easy place to start, here is one bad habit you can kick today.
Meeting for the sake of meeting
Employees are having more meetings than ever before. But are they really necessary?
- According to research by Ovum, 91% of employees surveyed said the number of meetings they’re having is either static or rising.
- Plus, a shocking 67% of employees reported that more than half the meetings they attend are not of value.
Whoa! That’s a lot of wasted time and energy. So how can you make everyone’s time more pleasant and effective?
Start thinking differently
Just because you’ve held a department meeting every Tuesday afternoon for as long as you can remember doesn’t mean you need to continue doing so. If your entire meeting schedule is on reoccurrence, it’s time to think about whether or not you could make better use of all those hours— and employees.
Before you schedule a meeting and ask for someone’s time, stop and ask yourself:
- Is this meeting truly necessary?
- Will it be productive?
- Is it designed to result in new ideas, specific outcomes, and/or significant progress?
- Will it convey critical updates and information that can’t be found elsewhere?
- Is this the quickest, most effective way to communicate this info with your team?
- Does it have educational value? Will it help your employees grow and improve?
- When you think about all of the things your team needs to accomplish, does sitting in this meeting still seem like a good use of time for everyone involved?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, congratulations! Your meetings are an intentional good habit and very likely helping you reach your goals. If you’re unsure whether or not your meetings are productive, here’s a quick litmus test:
If your meetings have no particular agenda, no defined end time, and no specific takeaways, it’s definitely time to re-think your strategy.
Ways to kick your meeting habits
There are several things you can do to cut down on the number of non-critical meetings in your organization.
- Resist defaulting to an hour-long session. Schedule the actual time you need.
- Consider extending the time between meetings. Do you really have to meet weekly?
- ALWAYS have an agenda. (A general round-robin doesn’t count!)
- Only invite those who are critically necessary to move the agenda forward.
- Think about other ways you might be able to effectively communicate as a group.
- Try some new technology! There are lots of instant messaging and project management platforms to facilitate quick, easy, and efficient group conversations.
If you’re still feeling nervous about changing your organizational process and cutting back on the number of meetings you're having, relax. They key lies in the quality of the sessions, not the quantity or frequency.
When you do need to have meetings, make them count— and give yourself and your team the gift of time well spent. Whether it’s a staff meeting, project discussion, or training session, make sure your employees leave the room smarter and better prepared to do their jobs.
Tired of meeting with brokers who are just bringing you the same old stuff? Wonder what it would be like to look forward to those appointments? Get in touch with Raffa to find out what working with a true employee benefits consultant feels like.
Photo by Andriy Popov