Meetings and Productivity | Learning the Jobs way

Everybody knows how Steve Jobs was when it came to work, but seldom people know what he actually told or discussed to make things better and more productive. One such was this methodology for having meetings by the CEO at Apple. Straight, sharp, to the point and crisp. It's usually what we all can achieve by keeping small things in check. Often we tend to overlook these minor details, but a lot of meetings can also harm our work. Here are the best 3 notes for Jobs' meeting sessions.


Being smart or being fast?
Now that's a million dollar question we all want an answer to in times of crisis.
When top managers hold a meeting, their agenda needs to be crisp and participation should be limited to only those who are responsible. Also it is important that we must reach a conclusion, what's the point if we discuss for over two hours and end up doing is fixing another meeting as the time ran out? (faceplam)
Try Jobs' approach and see if they seem affable.

Let's Begin.

Lesson 1. "Only required hands on deck"

Steve always kept his meetings small which meant limited participation of only required people. There was this instance narrated by his long time association/friend Ken Segall, when he was about to begin his weekly meet with Apple's Ad agency. He suddenly noticed someone new, stopped right there and asked the person to introduce herself. She was a part of related marketing projects. Jobs heard her and politely asked her to step away from the meeting. "I think we don't need you! Thanks".
He carried the same attitude towards himself as well. When Barack Obama invited him for a small gathering of tech leaders, Steve Jobs declined as he believed there were too many people invited.

Lesson 2. "Keeping someone responsible for each item on agenda"

If you're smart enough, you know what I mean. This was a big secret for Apple becoming one of the world's most valuable companies back in 2011. One of the key principles laid out by Jobs was to have an 'accountability mindset', meaning that everybody knew who was responsible for what. One of Fortune magazine's writer told that Apple had a concept of 'DRI' or directly responsible individual. DRI's name would appear on an agenda for a meeting, so everybody would know who was responsible. Per se, any meeting will have an action plan and next to each item would be the DRI. So if anobody wanted to talk to the person responsible, they (Apple employees) would ask, "Who's the DRI on the that?" This kind of approach/process really works.

Speaking to a former Apple employee who once was a part of the iPod team and now currently at Flipboard, she emphasized how DRIs were so important and in fact introduced the same at Flipboard as well. Either it's a startup or a multi-million dollar corporation, DRIs can prove to be helpful amid tons of work.

Lesson 3. "No to PowerPoint presentations"

Accodring to Steve, he hated PowerPoint presentations, and preferred face-to-face meetings. (Could be the inspiration behind FaceTime, just guessing). He would usually hold an agenda less meetings with his marketing and advertising team because he wanted them to brainstorm instead of putting everything on slides and taking too much help of technology. Meetings were far more creative and open rather than putting a bunch of information on slides he always said.

"I hate the way people use slides instead of thinking. People who know what they are talking about don't need a slide presentation."

I think if we are managing a startup or a big company, we might want to re-check our ways of holding meetings. While some ways may seem doable others can be improvised for more meaningful outcomes. It's always nice to go back to basics. Start making these little conscious decisions and see the difference.

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Images: Google