BANK ZERO chairperson Michael Jordaan.     Supplied
BANK ZERO chairperson Michael Jordaan. Supplied

If you call a meeting, take your own minutes, that's what Bank Zero founder does

By Philippa Larkin Time of article published Nov 22, 2019

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JOHANNESBURG -  Michael Jordaan, the founder of Bank Zero, revealed his hand in how to hack business meetings.

"At Bank Zero whoever calls a meeting also (has) to take the minutes. Yesterday I chaired the board for 3 hours and today it took me the same amount of time to do the minutes. (The) Major benefit is that I understand and remember the detail so much better. Highly recommended," said Jordaan, who is also the the chairperson  of Rain Mobile  and former First National Bank chief executive.

Everyone has experienced the archetypal business meeting that drones on and  goes in one ear and fizzes in to hot air, which has also born many creative doodling artists.

Jordaan unleashed a can of worms via enthusiastic responses: 

Globally chief executives have come up with different approaches to enable effective meetings and bolster productivity in the workplace.

The unconventional, disruptive Elon Musk, last year said in an email to Tesla staff, "Btw, here are a few productivity recommendations:
  • Excessive meetings are the blight of big companies and almost always get worse over time. Please get rid of all large meetings, unless you’re certain they are providing value to the whole audience, in which case keep them very short.
  • Also get rid of frequent meetings, unless you are dealing with an extremely urgent matter. Meeting frequency should drop rapidly once the urgent matter is resolved.
  • Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren’t adding value. It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time.
  • Don’t use acronyms or nonsense words for objects, software or processes at Tesla. In general, anything that requires an explination inhibits communication. We don’t want people to have to memorize a glossary just to function at Tesla.
  • Communication should travel via the shortest path necessary to get the job done, not through the “chain of command."

Amazon chief executive has a pizza rule

The two pizza rule is a guideline for limiting the number of attendees at a meeting. According to the rule, a meeting should never have so many attendees that they could not all be fed with two pizzas. Generally, this limits the number of attendees at a meeting to less than eight.

Recently Microsoft went a step further in the quest for productivity.  It not only hacked meetings, but the working week as well.

After spending August experimenting with a four-day work week in Japan, which is renowned  a culture of overworking, Microsoft Japan said sales per employee rose 40 percent compared with the same month last year.

The “Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019” saw full-time employees take off five consecutive Fridays in August with pay, as well as capping meetings to a maximum of 30 minutes and encouraging remote conferences.


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