Meeting standards

Here are some head-honcho strategies for getting the most out of your workplace meetings.

A 2016 workplace survey found employees spend only about 40% of their time fulfilling their primary job duties. The main time-killing culprit: meetings. Almost six in 10 workers say wasteful meetings are the biggest impediment to getting their job done. Here are some head-honcho strategies for getting the most out of your meetings.

Satya Nadella

CEO, Microsoft Corp.

One Friday a month, Nadella meets with top staffers for an eight-hour meeting. “The senior leadership team of any company [has] got to stay on the same page,” Nadella told the Wall Street Journal. “Any organization can easily devolve into a bunch of silos.” On the other Fridays, meetings last only four hours.

Steve Jobs

Cofounder and former CEO, Apple Inc.

When Jobs called a meeting, he expected everyone to participate and small was necessarily better. He would even pare the numbers down in session, asking staffers who they were and dismissing them if they weren’t required. “I don’t think we need you in this meeting. Thanks”

Phil Libin

Cofounder and former CEO, Evernote Corp.

Around 2012, Libin started a training program where employees sat in on executive meetings, regardless of their expertise. Libin got the idea for his Evernote Officer Training from a friend who served on a US Navy submarine, where everyone had to know how to do everyone else’s job.

Marissa Mayer

Former CEO, Yahoo Inc.

Mayer would ask employees pitching new ideas to always back up the concept with data. The tech exec could have up to 70 meetings in a week and allowed people to schedule gatherings for as little as 10 minutes.

Elon Musk

Founder and CEO, Tesla Motors

Musk likes to keep meetings short and expects everyone to contribute. One former employee recalls a meeting where Musk turned to a staffer, noted he hadn’t said anything and asked him why he was there.

Jeff Bezos

Founder and CEO, Amazon

Bezos’ “two-pizza rule” demands meetings be small enough that two pizzas can feed everyone. The idea is that smaller groups avoid “group think” and “social loafing”.