On average American businesses lose an estimated $37 billion a year due to meeting mistakes.
Steve Jobs made sure that Apple was not one of those companies.
Here are 3 different and often terrifying ways that meetings were insanely productive with him:
1. The only time Steve Jobs played it SMALL:
Jobs collaborator Ken Segall goes into great detail in his book “Insanely Simple: The Obesession that drives Apple’s success,” what it was like to work with him.
In one story, Jobs was ready to commence a weekly meeting with Apple’s ad agency.
All of a sudden he spotted someone he didn’t know…
“He stopped cold,” Segall wrote. “His eyes locked on to the one thing in the room that didn’t look right. Pointing to Lorrie, he said, ‘Who are you?'”
Calmly, she explained that she was asked to the meeting because she was a part of related marketing projects.
Jobs heard her, and then politely told her to get out.
“I don’t think we need you in this meeting, Lorrie. Thanks,” he said.
He was similarly ruthless with himself.
2. Focus on massive Accountability:
Fortune reporter Adam Lashinsky detailed a some of the formal processes that Jobs used, which led Apple to become the world’s most valuable company in a 2011 feature investigating Apple’s culture.
Jobs focused primarily on “accountability mindset”
Processes were always put in place so that everybody knew who was responsible for what – it was made extremely clear.
Internal Applespeak even has a name for it, the “DRI,” or directly responsible individual.
Often the DRI’s name will appear on an agenda for a meeting, so everybody knows who is responsible. “Any effective meeting at Apple will have an action list,” says a former employee. “Next to each action item will be the DRI.” A common phrase heard around Apple when someone is trying to learn the right contact on a project: “Who’s the DRI on that?”
The process just simply works!
3. Powerpoint slides were banned!
Walter Isaacson, author of the “Steve Jobs” biography, said “Jobs hated formal presentations, but he loved freewheeling face-to-face meetings.”
Wednesday afternoons, Jobs had a meeting without an agenda in place, with his marketing and advertising team.
Slideshows were banned in these meetings because Jobs wanted his team to debate passionately and think critically, all without leaning on technology for support.
“People would confront a problem by creating a presentation. I wanted them to engage, to hash things out at the table, rather than show a bunch of slides.
People who know what they’re talking about don’t need PowerPoint.”