Jason Fried claims that managers aren’t helping staff manage – rather, they are most of the problem! In his provocative TED talk, he claims that M&Ms (managers and meetings) are the real reason that the workplace is unproductive. Managers interrupt working people to find out how they are doing, and then gather working people together to talk about how they are doing.
Fried contends that if ten people attend a meeting, it’s not one hour of work time that is lost, it’s ten hours – one hour for each person. This, he says, is why so many of us tend to get our work done before work, after work or while commuting – because we’re able to focus on our tasks. It sounds familiar, especially to those working in health and care who must respond to constant requests, and attend update meetings, planning meetings and feedback meetings.
His solutions are radical but logical. Two key changes would increase productivity and make the workplace into a place where work gets done:
- First, silent sessions where colleagues are not allowed to interrupt each other so that a substantial uninterrupted effort can be put into tasks.
- Second, cancelling meetings – managers should just cancel meetings. In the time freed up, their teams can undertake the work they were hired to do in the first place.