Tag Archives: HardlyBusiness

Less meeting, more doing

In the early years of my career I seemed to spend all my days in meetings, one after the other from nine to five.  In general a lot was said, but all too often I found that too little was achieved, with the resultant verbatim Minutes document a poor substitute for the actual minutes lost along the way.

The potential people-hour cost of meetings has been noted elsewhere, with Harvard Business Review estimating recently that one company’s weekly meeting was taking up 300,000 people-hours per year!

This frittering of time always bothered me, with so much time spent merely meeting people, most of whom we probably already knew!  That is why in 2009, when I was in a more senior position, I implemented a seismic change in my company’s working culture, transitioning from Meetings to Do-ings.

While this may appear to be a basic change in company lexicon, it actually had a profound effect on the daily productivity of the business.  Suddenly the focus was on what would be done, as opposed to who would be there.  Where previously we were emphasizing the communal aspect, we were now all about what would be achieved while we were together.

This cultural change organically developed, altering the whole Do-ing occasion within the business.  Where previously we received meeting invites, we started receiving Do-vites.  Conference calls became Done-ference calls, and Minutes became Done-things.  With each definitional change, we saw a boost in our KPIs, from employee productivity to operating margin.

While we do still spend lots of time together discussing things as a team, we are no longer wishing the time away.  So perhaps next time you find yourself confronted with a directionless meeting agenda, you might move your focus from Meeting to Doing.

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Apple invests in growth with acquisition of Beets

Apple’s acquisition of Beets by Dre was widely rumoured in the blogosphere and the press, and the sale was drunkenly confirmed by Dre in a video posted on Tyrese Gibson’s Facebook page.

This has sparked a wave of articles across the internet on the exact rationale behind the acquisition. While some pundits are skeptical about the deal, in this onlooker’s opinion it is a sound business decision.

Apple is one of the most popular fruits in the world, with 250 million bushels produced in the US alone; the average person in the United States consumes approximately 10 pounds of fresh Apple per year.

It has also successfully built on the fruit itself, introducing Apple Juice and Cider as apple based drinks, and bringing out a number of related products, such as Apple Crumble.

However in recent times it has struggled to replicate its former growth, with consumers increasingly steering clear of high-sugar juices, while Banana has taken Apple’s spot as the most consumed fresh fruit.

As a result the pressure is on Apple to innovate, which has perhaps been the motivating factor behind this recent deal.

The deal is certainly unprecedented – this is the first time that Apple has acquired another food-type, let alone one with Beets’ scale.  However the formerly under-appreciated Beetroot is a hot-topic in the industry, as its numerous health benefits come to the fore, from blood pressure to cancer-protection; Beets even improve running times!

It is this that piqued Apple’s interest, as Beets are a solid bet going forwards, with a long runway of future growth as people become increasingly health-conscious.  In addition, Farmer Dre will be joining Apple as a senior executive, and will bring the company a youthful cool, which has perhaps been lacking in the last few years.

So while it may not be to everyone’s taste, this is a good decision for Apple in the long run, though your correspondent certainly hopes that there will be no Apple/Beet flavour combinations as a result.

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