Too many meetings? Too much talk and not enough action? Here’s why

A great article in Inc. magazine asks if you’ve ever invited employees to a meeting just so they wouldn’t feel left out. If you’re at a nonprofit organization, you probably have, eh?

A Little Less Conversation looks at the real cost of overcommunicating.

Think of it this way: Every time you add another person to a project, the more communication it takes just to keep everyone in the know. Before long, what used to be days spent making progress on the project is days just keeping up with the chatter.

There’s a mathematical reason for this. Each person you add creates not just one person worth of connection; there’s a multiplier effect. The formula for the number of connections is this: (n²-n)/2. That’s bad, because it works out like this:

People Connections
1 0
2 1
3 3
4 6
5 10
6 15
7 21
8 28
9 36
10 45

You can see where this goes. How do you escape the madness?

… you need to design ways to reduce communications paths. Eliminate companywide mailing lists — or at least charge $1.50 to post to them. Stop having large meetings. You need a culture in which people don’t get uptight because they weren’t included in a meeting, which means you need a culture that rewards people for doing their jobs and frowns on meddling in other people’s work.

Nonprofits are notorious for trying to get the consensus of every possible person for decisions. It’s a weight around our neck. If you value innovation, if you value quality, if you just value your life — you’ll keep the noise down by limiting the number of people involved in your projects.

More on the cost of including a lot of people in your projects here: Death by Committee.


Comments

2 responses to “Too many meetings? Too much talk and not enough action? Here’s why”

  1. Katie Graf Avatar
    Katie Graf

    AMEN! Great Post. A keeper.

  2. Katie Graf Avatar
    Katie Graf

    AMEN! Great Post. A keeper.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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