MEETINGS IN ORGANIZATIONAL MANAGEMENT 11
Meetingsin Organizational Management
Invirtually all organizations, meetings hold a central role in guidingdirection of different courses of action. A substantial amount of thetop manager’s time and a relatively sizable amount of time of otheremployees are spent in meetings which would otherwise be usedperforming other tasks. If this time is not optimally utilized, hugelosses will be incurred by institutions. The initial stage ofimplementing change includes holding a series of meetings at alllevels. Conflicts resolutions, complex issues solving, and criticaldecision require conventions where ideas are generated and shared.This study looks at ways through which organizations can ensure thatmeetings held are efficient and relevant. It also highlights a numberof barriers to efficiency of meetings that include both processes andability of the meeting presenter. At the end, the study looks at thevarious strategies that can be applied to strengthen the level ofmeetings effectiveness in organizations.
Amongthe most important activities of a company are the periodicalmeetings that are held at different levels of the organization. Theboard of directors, departmental heads, section staff and any othergroup whose work require collaboration to achieve goals needcommunication, feedback and sharing of thoughts. In manyorganizations, all critical decisions are made through meetings.Consequently, the need for effective management during meetingscannot be underestimated. Bagire, Byarugaba & Kyogabiirwe (2015)state that meeting in management is not only a mirror reflection ofan organization as an entity, but also an important measure of theability of the managers. Skills to manage a meeting, motivateparticipants and at the same time develop thoughts are considered animportant managerial asset. The entire system of an organizationoperation depends on the substance of the meeting held over a periodof time (Neurbert & Dyck, 2016). The scope of this work is topaint a picture of an effective meeting by pointing out barriers toefficiency and how they can be avoided.
Thereare many reasons why meetings are held in organizations. To beginwith, a meeting constitutes an important forum through which ongoingissues are addressed. When people are working together, differencesarises from time to time from interactions at different levels. Evenwhen a system exist under which all employees conduct is regulated,employees often have different backgrounds, leadership styles, andperspectives of varying circumstances. However, performance isextremely affected by level of collaboration among workers (Carry& Sparrow, 2014).The organizational goals set for workers at different levels may betoo high for some diminishing motivation and leading to interpersonaldifferences, anxiety, and friction (Neurbert & Dyck, 2016).Scheduling meetings regularly creates an opportunity where allworkers or parties involved get a dependable opening to hammer downissues that might be a stumbling block to optimum performance of work(Mishra, 2014). Unhealthy competition may ensue within theorganization with each competing side pulling resources on their end.In the long run, the intended organizational goal is buried if noproper intervention is made. Management must, therefore, ensure thatemployees meet as often as it is necessary to ascertain that a commonvision is shared. Solving internal issues amicably help the employeesto develop association attitude with their employer and in the longrun, loyalty is built (Erkutlu& Chafra, 2015).
Inorganization, communication, both horizontal and vertical, iscritically important. When staff meetings are convened in aprofessional manner, all participants are afforded an opportunity toactively make contribution. The result is advantages associated toteam work and development of trust which in turn leads to productiveinteraction(Allen& Rogelberg, 2013). Given that the employees are the people onthe ground, who conduct the actual implementation of theorganizational objectives, sharing information creates a harmoniousenvironment through which efficiency is enhanced. It also creates aforum through which problems are brought to attention of all staffmembers.
Accordingto Ionescu & Bolcus (2015), when introducing new organizationaldevelopment, meetings must be held at all levels and stages. Forinstance, change management involves forecasting phase whereobjectives are set, resources identified, and strategic optionsdetermined among the many options available. Once this phase isfinalized, the change enters the second stage of operations thatmainly involves determining the activities to be carried out andthose to be set aside. In this phase, distribution of activities inall the departments and subunits is made, coordination establishedand human resource engaged in both processes and activities. Thethird phase is the control and evaluation stage which involves allthe post-operative management (Ionescu & Bolcus, 2015).Activities selected and processes identified are controlled. Theperformance in all the subunits is assessed. Control is critical inidentifying deviations and initiating corrective processes. In allthese phases, involved departments must hold meetings. Since thesemeetings are highly objective, adequate preparation and follow upmust be done (Ionescu & Bolcus, 2015).
However,not all meetings are productive or resourceful to an organization.According to research, more than 50% of all time spent in meetings isapproximated to be wasted, causing billions of resources waste. Somesources show that managers and top executives spend more than half oftheir entire working time in meetings (Allen et al, 2014). Given thelevel of loss realizable by failing to conduct meetings effectively,organizations need to rethink and strategize approaches to meeting.
Meetingsin an organization should have a consistent format in the manner inwhich they are held. Bagire,Byarugaba & Kyogabiirwe (2015), states that if a well laidmeeting is not well conducted, the objectives may not be achieved. Awell-organized meeting should offer room for broad sharing ofinformation among the participants. At the same time, it shouldcreate an environment through which ideas are generated anddeveloped, visions are shared and team work is improved. Even beforethe particular time of convention, members can be informed of theagenda to be discussed to prepare themselves. Allowing time and smallgroup discussions prior to the day ensures that the focus of themeeting becomes the major issue rather than explaining minor issuesthat can be communicated through other channels.
Themost important factor when organizing a meeting is specification ofthe purpose of the meeting. If the essence of the meeting is notclear to the members, it goes without saying that important issuesmay not be raised (Mishra,2014).The author argues that if the substance of the meeting does not meetthe threshold necessitating a seating, proceeding to hold aconvention is a recipe for disaster. They suggest sending material,specifying agenda, and then communicating proper date, time andlocation of the meeting well in advance to all the targetedparticipants. Technology can be applied to enhance meeting efficiencyat the convention time and planning stage. For instance, making powerpoint presentation creates an ideal opportunity to summarizevoluminous content that would take hours to explain. It can also beapplied to send details and other material requirement prior to themeeting (Zhao, Lu & Wang, 2013).
FactorsHindering Effectiveness of Meetings
Themajor factor hindering the effectiveness of the meeting is having incharge an incompetent chairperson or person manning the direction ofthe discussion. This may be evident in poor presentation of ideasleading to precious time being wasted as discussion move in a viciouscircle. Mishri (2014) states that the role of management is centralto achievement of objectives of a convention as it facilitateparticipation and leadership. The person spearheading the meetingmust not appear to be taking side, especially when there is animplied conflict of interest between participants (Erkutlu &Chafra, 2015). Rather than appear partisan, they should assist inclarification of issues and views of the participants without makingany judgment of merits. If, for instance, the person who has themandate to chair the meeting feels that they have to talk a lot aspart of the agendas under discussion, an alternative person should bechosen to chair a particular setting to avoid monopoly and to bringsome level of discipline in the meeting.
Moreover,lack of proper formulated agenda squarely leads to vagueness inpurpose determination. If critical issues for discussion are notoutlined, participants contribute randomly what they have in theirmind and it is difficult to pass new ideas (Allen& Rogelberg, 2013). The environment created is more of expressingmind content rather than listening to what would be discussed. Allother aspects such as time management, guided discussion, and evenmaking important decisions are hindered and in the end, it results intime wastage. At the end of the meeting, clear conclusions are notarrived at and follow up becomes a problem.
Furthermore,the belief that business meeting involves complete agreement by allstakeholders is significant barrier to effectiveness of meetings.Erkutlu & Chafra (2015), state that pretended arguments in aconvention are worse than honest disagreement. It is suggestivelynecessary to air out opinions, voice concerns, and communicateenergized solutions that people are interested in. When people agreeabout issues when they mean to agree, the problem is reflected duringimplementation where some becomes uncooperative. Erkutlu & Chafra(2015) argue that when people open up soon after the meeting duringinformal discussions, it is an indication that they were eitherintimidated or coerced. It is important for presenters to allowcriticism and encourage all kinds of opinions as long as they are ofthe agenda to be discussed. This would help save valuable resourcesand encourage participation in coming meetings.
Improvingthe Effectiveness of Meetings
Anumber of strategies have been suggested through which the efficiencyof meetings may be achieved. In some instances, some participants getto meeting late while others arrive as scheduled. To avoiddemotivating those who demonstrate time consciousness, waiting forthose who are late should be discouraged(Allen& Rogelberg, 2013). Waiting for the late comers is equivalent topunishing those who arrive in time. To further discourage turning uplate in meetings, management can introduce a policy to block outthose who do not arrive on specified time. The chairperson shouldcommence the meeting punctually and ensure that important issues areaddressed before the end of the stipulated time. Many people preferto attend a meeting with pre-determined time and are keen on itsending on time just as much as its punctual commencement.
Mostmeetings are believed to be in observance of the 80/20 rules. Thereare those agendas that contributes 80 % of the values of the meetingbut consume less time and those that require more time yet haveminimum overall value. More valuable issues should be addressed firstand covered adequately at the beginning of the meeting. This willensure that if the time runs out, the essential and more pressingmatters are covered and the rest of the items can be pushed forward(Ionescu & Bolcus, 2015). Efficiency of management depends on theability to isolate what is core from what can be postponed until somefuture date (Carry & Sparrow, 2014).
Anotherelement of effective meeting is making efforts to ensure thatcontribution is within the topic. To ensure this, the presenter mustensure that presentations made by participants are in the agenda andit is made within allotted time (Mishra, 2014). In addition, thepresenter must from time to time remind the members the agenda on thelist and identify those not covered. Finally, the organizers canreiterate the critical matters of discussion and relate them to theagenda. At the same time, progress should be pointed out so that bythe end of the discussion, objectives are met. At some point, itbecomes necessary to interject serious business with a necessary jestif it is within the capacity of the presenter to do so. Humor helpsmembers to relax and share ideas more openly (Mishra, 2014).
Whenthe meeting is long and a lot of agenda are to be discussed, it isnormal for people to lose concentration and become less attentive asexhaustion intensifies. This may be counter-productive as it meanssome members do not participate. To avoid such problems, short breakscan be allowed to have individuals participate in a physical activitysuch as standing, stretching and walking out briefly(Allen & Rogelberg, 2013).Activities help participants regroup themselves, have informal chatmoment, and re-organize their line of thoughts. Moreover, teamleaders can be allowed to lead the meeting during their presentationwhich ensures that they remain attentive owing to their activeengagement role. The presenter can also reinforce and commentpositively about affirmative responses and behaviors displayed byothers which encourages participation.
Theagendas agreed on should be implemented and follow up made. Allen &Rogelberg (2013), states that meetings form an important springboardsin which the organizational activities, goal, visions and otherimportant aspects are communicated to all stakeholders. If memberscontribution that were agreed upon during a certain meeting are notimplemented and no follow up is made by the management, employeesbecome skeptical and this may hinder their morale to make anysignificant contribution in the coming meetings (Allen &Rogelberg, 2013). If there are technicalities arising that preventimplementation, the issue should be reported in the meeting forfurther deliberation. Follow up is the essence of starting a meetingby first going through minutes of the previous meeting and analyzingmatters arising. To ascertain that necessary follow up has been done,the organizers need to evaluate the previous meeting recommendationsand be ready to report on any progress made.
Asseen throughout this work, meetings play an essential role in anorganization management at all levels. Managers need to communicateimportant matters to their employees from time to time. There are anumber of channels through which this can be done but the meetingforms a one on one approach which allows room for discussion. Inaddition, some decisions demand that the relevant people convene asitting to find an amicable solution. Poor management of the meeting,the presenter taking side, and lack of purpose expressed in form ofagenda are the leading barriers to effective meetings. Managers needto practice productive activities such as observing start time andend time of the meeting, being focused on the topic and encouragingcontribution and participation of all members. Finally, meetingsshould be well planned for prior to convention and follow up must beexercised to ensure that issues deliberated on have been implemented.
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