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CareersAccording to a survey published in Industry Week last month, most managers reported that at least 30% of their working hours were either taken up by unnecessary meetings that stretched for hours and ended with no actionable outcomes.

To save time and ensure that meetings are task-focused and action-oriented, management experts at The Harvard Business Review have coined ‘The 8-18-1800 Meeting Rule’ which stands for:

8. If problem-solving is the goal of a meeting (for example, New Product Development and Research, Service Innovationyou are a client services manager and you want to determine the best course of action to meet a client’s expectations) include no more than eight people in the meeting. Regularly scheduled departmental meetings, where identifying and resolving issues affecting output is the primary concern, fall into this category.

18. If brainstorming is on your agenda, invite up to 18 people to the table. This is because group discussions often yield creative and effective ideas and solutions in less time than individual thinking. Typically, New Product Development and Research, Service Innovation, and Strategy-Building Meetings fit into this slot. As the main purpose of these meetings is idea generation, management experts recommend that they should be conducted outside boardrooms; unconventional venues such as parks and cafes are more likely to prompt out-of-the-box thinking.

1800. When there are important policy changes, organisational developments and milestones that have to be communicated to the workforce, the Rule suggests that you should call in every concerned employee, even if the number exceeds 1,800. However, with Cloud Computing becoming an integral way to carry out business functions, most organisations internationally – and a handful in Pakistan – are opting for this technology to transmit information to large groups, making the need to gather employees in one place to make such announcements redundant.

– Mansoor Soomro
The writer is a corporate trainer and a faculty member at IoBM. mansoorsoomro@hotmail.com

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on September 13, 2015.