I was fantasising about a new Outlook feature today. No really, I am that sad! Here was my fantasy, whenever you create a new meeting event, there is a little box showing the estimated meeting cost. This cost should double as you double the length of the meeting and also double when you add people to the meeting. I want it to come complete with a “ker-ching” sound each time it increases. Then before you send the meeting invite I want the software to ask you, “Is the problem you are trying to resolve at this meeting more valuable than the meeting cost?”
It might feel comforting to have everyone there, “just in case” but there is always an opportunity cost for inviting people to a meeting and maybe, just maybe, they have something better to do…like their job. The number of times I hear people say “I’m just in meetings back to back, when do I get the chance to do any work?” The point is, it can be really (really) stressful for people when they don’t feel they have time to produce some valuable output and it is incredibly demoralising. It turns out we naturally want to be valuable. That’s a good thing and we should encourage it by not meeting.