Are Your Employee Meetings a Waste of Time? 3 Easy Steps to More Effective Meetings

Effective meetings

I think there are two main types of people in the world when it comes to meetings. Those that love meetings because they see it as a time to socialize and those that hate meetings because they are a huge waste of time.

If you fill a room full of the first group, nothing will get accomplished and it will go well past the allotted time. Try to fill a room with the second group, and it will be empty because no one will show up.

But most companies fall in the middle, which is recipe for meeting disaster if you don’t know how to control the situation as a leader. Your socializers will lead the meeting in a million different directions, which will quickly frustrate those that didn’t want to go to the meeting in the first place.

It’s easy to spend a lot of time talking without really getting anything done.

Who has time for that?

Not you if you’re a leader that’s serious about reaching your goals and the company’s goals.

Thankfully, there’s a better way.

The 15-minute meeting

That’s right. Imagine a world where you could meet with your team, give them the support and access to resources they need, receive a progress update, and find out exactly what they are focused on, all within 15 minutes.

The 15-minute meeting system allows you to do this. And, if you follow it, you will quickly find the following:

  • Your team is aligned and working towards common goals
  • Your resources are properly allocated
  • You have more time open on your calendar
  • Your team attitude changes because each person has a clear understanding of what their goals and tasks are

15-minute meetings sound too good to be true?

I know what you’re thinking. It’s not possible. If you’ve been sitting through hours of meetings each week just trying to keep things afloat, this system sounds a little like a fairytale. But, it’s not. There’s no magic or pixie dust required.

However, it does take work. You have to be willing to stick to the system and hold your team accountable for doing the same. It might not feel super easy at first, but if you stick with it, you will quickly see how effective and efficient the system really is.

The 3 simple steps to more effective meetings

If you’re ready to transform your employee meetings, keep everyone aligned, and start making real strategic progress towards reaching your company goals, here are the three things you need to focus on for the 15-minute meeting:

  1. Goals
  2. Tasks
  3. One-on-one meetings

Let’s break it down:


Each of your direct reports need to have three or four goals that are aligned to the greater company mission. These goals need to be specific to that person. They are responsible for making them happen.

These might seem like a simple step, but it’s often overlooked by managers. Your employees may know what the company goals are and have no idea how the work they are doing aligns with it. Or, there’s a change that your employees don’t even have any goals. They may just know the tasks they do as part of their job without understanding why they do it.

Years ago I worked at a bank. When my manager was training me, she would show me a certain way that we would do a task. It might be writing a number in a certain place or reporting certain transactions to a different department.

She could never explain to me why we did something the way she was training me. And, it’s not because she didn’t care, it’s because she didn’t know. Her manager never explained it to her. So, we had an entire staff of tellers that were doing things just because “that’s what we do” instead of having a clear understanding of why it even mattered.

Let me fill you in on something. If your team doesn’t understand why things are done a certain way or why their specific job duties matter to the bigger picture of the company, they feel disconnected. It becomes easy to think their work doesn’t matter that much.

This is why your direct reports need to know what their goals are and how they contribute to the bigger picture.


Each employee should have six tasks that they are focused on for the week. These six tasks should be aligned to the goals that they have.

Now, it’s not always going to work that all six tasks are aligned to the goals. But, you need to make sure that there are tasks that are aligned with the Spearhead (the most important goal).

This is how you make sure that progress is being made towards the goals.

One-on-one meetings

Each week, schedule 15-minute meetings with your direct reports. It could be in-person, on the phone, or through video. Here’s what you do in those 15 minutes:

  1. Allow your employee to start the meeting by filling you in on their goals and what their progress looks like. They should be able to tell you how far (percentage wise) they are towards achieving their goal.
  2. Your employee shares the six tasks that they focused on the prior week. They let you know what went well and where their successes were. And, they let you know what their failures were and how they are realigning to move forward.
  3. The employee lets you know what their six tasks are for the coming week.

Then, the meeting is over.

Why this works

In 15 short minutes, you will find out exactly what’s going on with your direct report. You will know what progress has been made and where any problems are.

This gives your employee a chance to ask you any clarifying questions and helps you to make sure that they have the resources they need to be successful.

It also allows you to catch someone if they are headed in the wrong direction before too much time or too many resources are wasted.

A resource that makes it even easier

The set up of the SPEARity app makes it even easier for you and your team to operate this way. Your team can use the app to track their goals, progress, and tasks. And, you can do the same for yourself while also having access to view your team’s activity.

There you have it. A more productive team, less wasted time, and more focused work towards company goals all with 15-minute meetings.

If you’re ready to transform your meetings and your team, Let’s talk!We are SPEARity, a local Milwaukee leadership coaching firm that specializes in business coaching, executive coaching, and leadership development training.

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