How to Improve Your Contract Management Meetings

Meetings are among the biggest corporate time wasters. While some managers may quickly jump to defend their weekly status meetings, consider this: researchers for Harvard Business Review found that the employees at a large company spent 300,000 hours a year supporting a weekly executive meeting.

Just as there are ways to improve any process, there are many ways to improve your contract management meetings.

Here are five ways to streamline meetings and make the most of everybody’s time.

  1. Designate a “No Meetings Day”

Facebook is one of the highest valued companies in the world, so its co-founders know a thing or two about business. Dustin Moskovitz recommends implementing a “No Meeting  Wednesday” to ensure that “everyone gets a large block of time each week to do focused, heads-down work.”  By allowing your staff and managers to have a day of uninterrupted time, they will be able to be able to catch up on contract-related tasks and make use of fewer overtime hours.

You don’t need to pick a specific day for your No Meetings Day, but you need to enforce a strict policy of people respecting the No Meetings Day. While there are some emergencies that require a last-minute meeting on that day, the criteria for what overrides No Meetings Day should be very clear and well defined.

  1. Maintain an Online Dashboard

What kind of meeting was analyzed by the Harvard Business Review researchers? A status meeting, of course! As the report revealed, status meetings in large corporations require a large number of smaller status meetings to gather status for the larger status meeting.  Not an efficient use of time.

By leveraging an enterprise contract management system, you can maintain an online dashboard that shows the status of contract processes across your enterprise. Each employee would only be able to read the status of processes for which he or she is responsible.  The biggest advantage is that these updates are in real-time and allow people to make decisions based on the latest data. If your contract software is deployed as a Software-as-a-Service or using your enterprise’s firewall, then the dashboard is available to your employees from anywhere, anytime.

  1. Batch Your Meetings

In the same spirit of having a No Meetings Day, implement a single day that batches all meetings. By not spreading meetings throughout the week, your staff has a more consistent workflow. This is particularly important for sales staff, who need to travel a lot to secure sales.

“At my own firm, all management meetings are back to back on Mondays. That forces them to start and stop on time, and it lets me stay in decision-making mode,” claims author and Fortune contributor, Verne Harnish. Having a single meetings day forces everybody to make the most out of it.

  1. Finish Meetings Early

Google co-founder Larry Page and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg share the belief that there is no good reason why a meeting can’t finish early or, even can’t happen at all.

Page only allows a meeting to take place when a decision maker is present. Otherwise, no meeting is required. He empowers decision makers to take binding decisions, including nixing a project, during meetings.

Sandberg keeps a list of action items and, if she were to cover them in just 10 minutes, she would adjourn a meeting scheduled for one hour. By focusing on completing tasks and not logging hours, one of the busiest persons in the world is able to make it home for supper at a decent hour.

  1. Pick Up the Phone

Another useful tip from Page to run meetings effectively is not to wait for a meeting to make a decision. “Decisions should never wait for a meeting,” explains Kristen Gil, VP of Business Operations at Google.

In an age of email and SMS, people often dread to pick up the phone. “Working the phones” is a necessary skill and, often, a way to save you from having a meeting altogether.

Takeaway

Improve the productivity of your contract management meetings by implementing a “No Meetings Day,” maintaining an online dashboard of your processes through a contract management system, batching your meetings into a single day, finishing meetings early whenever possible, and picking up the phone more often to make decisions.