The article was originally published in Børsen Ledelse
Mikkel Ejsing
Partner, Resonans A/S
Jacob Ørting
HR Partner and former Department Manager, Novo Nordisk

In meetings to the neck — stretch your legs for a better meeting culture

In this article you will get very concrete ideas on how you can create more good meetings and strengthen the meeting culture in your company. The article is written by Resonans partner Mikkel Ejsing and HR partner and former head of department at Novo Nordisk, Jacob Ørting.

In recent years, Jacob and Mikkel have trained experienced managers at Novo Nordisk. Often they have discussed meeting and meeting management with the participants. A topic that easily leads the conversation to stories about bad meetings, absence of meeting management and unhealthy meeting cultures.

Meetings are necessary to create momentum and coordinated actions in any organization. Meetings can and should be value-creating, inspiring, fun and not least effective. We all know the feeling of walking out from a really good meeting. It can be absolutely intoxicating. It can in every way strengthen the business and ensure the decisive momentum when a meeting goes well. If the meetings are good, you will be able to solve many of your tasks at the meetings, thereby also strengthening your personal efficiency and well-being.

The ideas in the article are based in particular on some remarkable and courageous experiments and leg stretching carried out by Jacob as a leader at Novo Nordisk. The experiments led to interesting reactions, but positively influenced the meetings.

Jacob describes the situation before he started doing leg braces:

“After a day filled with these kinds of meetings, you come home to a full mailbox and a notebook with lots of things to do. It is not durable in the long run as it resulted in me working every night to get in control. One of the late nights, in the process of agreeing to another meeting, I made a decision to do something about it, and began to buckle legs for myself and others”.

Jacob did a number of very specific things to challenge the meeting culture. Things that you can also easily go out and do tomorrow:

“As a leader, I consistently mapped regular recurring meetings down in time and frequency.

  • I did not accept meetings that did not have a purpose, an agenda and a clear dividend (that did not make me particularly popular at first).
  • I could walk into a meeting and say “Dear X. I know you booked me for an hour, but unfortunately I only have 30 min. Is there any way we can push forward the decisions I'm a part of? Then you and my employee/the rest of the invitees can continue the meeting without my participation” (Care must be taken here, as you must of course show the necessary respect to the person who has convened the one-hour meeting).
  • I ONLY convened meetings which were scheduled for either 25 or 45 min to give myself and others time to reflect between meetings. (I have yet to find the option in Outlook that does it automatically, so unfortunately it has to be done manually every time)”.

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Read more about Jacob's leg span and what YOU can do to avoid standing in meetings to the neck in the article below.

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