How much are internal meeting costing you? – Set a zero-based time budget

If you’re anything like me, then you’re expected to attend way too many internal meetings each day/week. I don’t say this to brag, most of the time I’m not needed and I offer no value being at the meeting. In these situations my presence at the meeting is actually an “opportunity cost”;- I could be far more productive being somewhere else.

If this resonates with you, then you may like a concept I read in a blog by Michael Mankins (‘Collaboration Overload Is a Symptom of a Deeper Organizational Problem’) on Harvard Business Review  yesterday called ‘setting a zero-based time budget‘.

In Mankins’ own words, this involves:

Set a zero-based time budget. One discipline that we have seen work to reduce the number of unnecessary meetings is to create a fixed meeting time bank in which all new meetings are funded out of the current bank. To start, determine the total amount of time currently dedicated to meetings by level in your organization. Then place a ceiling on that total. Now, for every new meeting an executive requests to schedule, ask (or require) him or her to remove some other meeting of equivalent (or greater) time. At the very least, this approach will highlight the total time devoted to meetings in your company. Over time, it may enable your organization to lower the ceiling and liberate countless hours of unproductive time.

Administrative nightmare and probably unworkable in a partnership structure – but I LOVE the idea!

I can but dream…




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