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Dave Ferguson

There's a great scene in John Cleese's business film, Meetings, Bloody Meetings. His character's home in bed, working away, as his wife turns out her light. "Why can't you get your work done at work?" she asks.

"I'm always in meetings," he tells her.

"Can't you do your work in meetings?"

"People don't work in meetings," he says, in exasperation at having to explain the obvious. "They just--meet!"

Bob Sutton


I am guilty as charged, your point about taking quotes out of context is dead on.


Hayli @ RiseSmart

Meetings are often for planning, and planning is work. However, uber-planning is counterproductive, and that happens a lot in meetings. E.g., one person doesn't get it and needs to ask endless questions to hash out every possible scenario. Or the training coordinator seems addicted to roleplays for every possible scenario.

Wally Bock

To be fair to Drucker, the quote you've shared is in a section on executive time management in his excellent Effective Executive. It follows the following sentence: "Meetings are by definition a concession to deficient organization." In the rest of the section, Drucker points out that no one will ever have the perfect access to people and information that would make meetings unnecessary, but suggests that if you're spending too much time in meetings, you're probably not as effective as you could be.

The writer in me understands the quote as exaggeration to make a point. Taking it out of context leaves only the exaggeration.


I think Drucker is saying that meetings are places for work, not meeting. That they should be called workings, not meetings. That the preparation for work can be work. That the word "meeting" itself perverts its own purpose.


I've resorted to blocking 'work' time on my calendar in order to find time to actually do anything besides attend meetings. The thing I find most incredible is that it doesn't stop people from scheduling meetings right on top of my 'I'm busy' time. When I decline their meeting invitation and they give me grief over it, I remind them that they scheduled the meeting for a time when I was clearly not available. My motto: Respect the calendar!

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