Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Cost of a Meeting

This article in the Wall Street Journal describes how small businesses are trying to make their meetings more efficient. I thought that Iowa-based Russell Construction had developed a method that could be applied by many firms to great effect. As WSJ writer Emily Maltby explains,

"Managers at Russell Construction Co. introduced a new device at a recent quarterly meeting that calculates the average salary of those in attendance and determines exactly how much the meeting is costing the company based on those figures. 'I don't think people thought of time as an expense before,' says Angela Bagby, director of marketing and client relations for the 70-employee firm, which is based in Davenport, Iowa. That initial 90-minute meeting cost the firm roughly $5,000, according to the $25 cost-management gadget, which is made by Bring TIM LLC. Since then, employees have used the device at smaller group meetings, helping to shave off as much as $100 per meeting, Ms. Bagby estimates."

Have you estimated the cost of people's time at your staff meetings? I encourage all managers to consider conducting this simple calculation, and then raising people's awareness as to the opportunity cost of having a meeting. Perhaps it might make people think twice about how they spend their time, as well as how they ask their subordinates to spend their time.

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