Do I Need to Attend That Meeting?

Do I need to attend meeting

Do I Need to Attend That Meeting? 

I have been doing an increasing amount of Executive Coaching lately, working 1 on 1 with managers to enhance their effectiveness.

Early in these engagements, I typically ask the manager to track their time every 30 minutes for up to 1 month (trust me, it’s worth it).

Every task the manager performs is then coded on 2 dimensions:

  • Feelings: Does the task energize me (love it) – or does the task drain me (loathe it)?
  • Value: Is this a high-value task for someone in the manager’s role to be performing – or is it a low-value task?

What is the manager’s role?

My one-line summary: “The Manager’s role: Increase the output of the team. Spend most of your time performing tasks that only someone in the manager’s role can do.”

Therefore, a task can only be considered high-value if it meets these 2 criteria. It must increase the output of the team, and be something only the manager can do.

The goal of this time-tracking exercise is to increase the percentage of time the manager spends performing high-value, energizing tasks. The insights can be very revealing. Opportunities are soon identified to stop performing low-value tasks, improve delegation practices, upgrade processes, and develop supportive systems.

Another common opportunity to improve management effectiveness is meetings. Andy Grove the founder of Intel said, “A meeting is the medium through which managerial work is performed. We should not be fighting their existence, but rather using the time spent in them as efficiently as possible”

Meetings are where managers “do the work” of being a manager, and I have written many articles on the importance of highly disciplined meetings.

But managers get invited to a lot of meetings, and not every meeting is important for them to attend. I learned a great acronym called D.A.I. from my friend Scott Eblin, in his article How to decide which meetings to skip. Here’s my take on this filter:

D.A.I. (Decision-Maker, Advice, Informed)

D = Decision-Maker: must attend

If I am the decision-maker, I must attend the meeting

A = Advice: should attend

If I am not the decision-maker, but the decision-maker needs my advice “at the meeting” to help them make decisions, then I should attend the meeting. (Otherwise, just share your advice in writing prior, and skip the meeting)

I = Informed: should not attend

If I want to be informed about what happens in the meeting, I should not attend. This choice is a catalyst to train your team to dramatically upgrade the quality of note-taking and decision making in your absence


Another filter I use is my HELL YEAH or NO rule.  If you’re not saying HELL YEAH about an opportunity, say NO.

You must fiercely guard your time and invest it wisely. Do you really need to attend that meeting?

Here are some more tips on Leadership Productivity.


Until next time…

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