This is our busy season, which means that I can’t afford to spend time in all the time-wasting meetings we have. Most of these are standing meetings—what should I do? C.A., Houston, TX
Regardless of whether it’s your busy season, I would imagine “time-wasting meetings” are not particularly effective, especially if they’re standing meetings. The question is, are they really “time wasting” or are they an important aspect of the company in terms of things like driving perceptions, sharing critical information, or having key influencers in attendance?
If you’re driven to produce deliverables, this may sound like a crazy statement, but remember that the higher up you go in an organization, it’s less about what you produce and more about the intrinsic value that you can provide.
Is it the right thing for the business that you are in these meetings? If yes, what is the purpose of each meeting? Remember, relationship building and information sharing alone are valid purposes when you’re at a senior level.
If the answer is no, then talk to your manager about your attendance. If the answer is yes to both, then you have some options. You can limit the time you spend in each meeting by making it clear upfront to the organizer and asking to have your agenda items shifted, or you can appoint a proxy to attend in your place (or you can appoint a proxy to handle other responsibilities to free you up to attend the standing meetings).