The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (DVFA) wanted to free up work hours by making their meetings more effective. With fewer and better meetings, they wanted to turn a cost savings agenda into a win for the organization and the employees.
In 2016, the DVFA completed a staff reduction, and in order for their employees to complete their tasks with less coworkers, they launched Project Effective Meetings. They wanted their leadership teams to spend less time in meetings and they wanted the outcome quality to rise.
The solution we designed together
Along with the DVFA, we conducted a large quantitative analysis to uncover potential areas to focus on. We wanted to identify exactly what went wrong in ineffective meetings across all departments of the DVFA. Afterwards, we wanted to develop simple tools that could directly tackle the challenges found in the analysis. After our development phase, we wrote 4 articles that spelled out the issues and how to handle them. The toolbox was presented to the DVFA leadership and it focused on meeting leadership and facilitation.
The four articles were about
- Ground rules for meeting leadership
- Facilitation and involvement in meetings
- Ending meetings in the right way
- Meeting leadership in virtual meetings
The different departments had freedom to choose how they wanted to implement the changes. Some held workshops, others team meetings, but all departments had follow-up meetings that showed the analysis results from their department and let them know how to deal with their challenges.
The effects of the project are well documented in the project evaluation. The meetings became more effective, and they took less time, which has freed up resources for other initiatives.
As an interesting side effect, the project also led to a broader discussion of the concept of leadership and what leadership looks like outside of meetings.