Your Startup Is Leaking Productivity. Here Are the First Signs.

A bad meeting culture might be dooming your company behind your back

Joe Procopio

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image by yanalya on freepik

Your company is going to run exactly like you run your meetings.

Bad meetings don’t resemble a circus or a train wreck. In fact, they’re much harder to spot. They’re actually disguised as very professional affairs — smooth, efficient, corporate.

But what’s really happening is that company productivity is getting slowly sucked out of the organization, as a bad meeting culture starts to replace teamwork, real-time communication, individual milestones, and even actual work.

Bad meeting culture sneaks up on you

When I take a new advisor role for a startup, one of the first things I do is sit in on a management meeting. I can usually tell within five minutes where most of the productivity problems in the organization are sourced, and it’s usually within that room.

At larger organizations, that bad meeting culture trickles down into every area of the company, sometimes even on purpose. And what was a vibrant, fast-moving, hard-charging machine becomes a bureaucratic slog.

Don’t get me wrong, meetings are always a necessary evil, and there is no avoiding them. I’ve been through several “no-more-meetings” experiments as well, and in every case, the cure was worse than the disease.

Whether you’re sitting in a couple meetings a week or several meetings a day, every growing company risks inadvertently adopting bad meeting culture. And it usually happens when you’re trying to solve those inevitable problems that come with growth.

Avoid these corporate meeting mistakes

Bad meeting culture arises when startup leaders are either trying to emulate the corporate meetings they’re used to or trying to create a corporate-style meeting because they don’t know that they don’t have to.

These mistakes are more than procedural errors — they speak to the very nature of the meeting itself. Any one of them on their own might not sap productivity, but combined, they start to create a culture of seeming rather than doing.

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Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building TeachingStartup.com & GROWERS. Write at Inc.com and BuiltIn.com. More at joeprocopio.com