Use Of Official Meetings

Meetings are essential for any organisation or Government. It facilitates good inter-personal communication and solution to a problem through consensus. Of course the meeting has to chaired by a senior person who can ensure discipline throughout the proceedings. There should be an agenda and a list of all persons who are supposed to participate in the meeting- capable of evolving a solution if the meeting is called for a common problem in the organisation. Before anything else I would like to clarify the types of meetings called for.

A meeting is called for:

–passing on information regarding policy changes or strategic changes or any other important information to key persons in the organisation who are responsible to implement the changes. Normally such a meeting is convened by the top management and mostly departmental heads are called for such meetings.

–Review meetings. This is done by the departmental head based on the frequency decided to assess the progress of work done in the department. At the top level, MD or VP usually conducts this once in 3 months with their immediate assistants. Once in 6 months, the MD reviews with all concerned regarding the progress they are making.

–Brain storming session: This may involve all concerned at any position with a view to garner substantial savings or improve productivity. I am going to deliberate on this as a separate article.

–Customer meeting: This involves mostly marketing executives to get business or selling products on a large scale. Sometimes this also includes a PR manager.

–Meeting with potential employee or what is called an interview. This is for the purpose of selection and recruitment.

–Statutory meetings: Required as per company’s act every 3 months to approve and owe responsibility by Board of Directors and the financial results are circulated to all bonafide shareholders. The meeting is convened by Company Secretary and a minimum number of directors must attend the meeting.
However the Annual General Meeting (AGM) has to be conducted within 3 months of a fiscal year inviting all shareholders in the city where the company has declared its registered office. The AGM also takes the approval of shareholders for approval of new products, taking loans from financial institutions, mortgaging of company properties (plant, machinery, offices) or appointment of new directors or top officials. In some cases extra ordinary general meeting (EGM) is called for to take the approval. There is no stipulated frequency for EGM.

–Government Meetings: These are conducted by both State and Centre. Very few of them result in Public benefit. Either they are called for show off or as an annual ritual. Some are confidential and the common public do not know the outcome or decision taken in the meetings.

Now I come to the negative side of the meetings particularly in medium and large companies conducted by the bosses of the functional area. Mostly these meetings are called for those senior persons who are heading a small department or heading a department who are side tracked by top management for their performance and is due for super annuation with a sadistic mind. They do not have adequate knowledge to be respected by their team members. They call for meetings abruptly without any agenda. The meeting in fact ends up as a mudslinging session. They waste the time of team members and the meeting ends up as counterproductive. The meeting is worse than a government meeting ritual where at least every member reads out his paper and some knowledge is imparted to others.

Policy changes, Strategy changes through passing on information and instructions and Review meetings are most productive particularly the latter. Review meetings are regularly conducted by Marketing, Supply chain Management and IT. Marketing conducts review meeting with its executives once a week to monitor the sales and determine the market trends. So corrective action can be taken faster and not lose the sales.

Supply chain management conducts the meeting with its executives at least once in 2 weeks to determine the status of supplies and finished goods reaching various destinations. All these and other meetings are purposeful when target dates are given by the head of the department or a person who is chairing the meeting to various executives to implement and achieve the targets. In the IT sector review of Projects is done by the Team Leader and he decides the frequency of the review. At present to save time all reviews are done through computers and rarely only if required physical meetings do take place.
Meetings must be useful and progressive and the result should be in the interest of the Organisation.

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