Why media company TheSoul Publishing decided to ban meetings


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Most of us think about meetings a needed evil of getting work finished. Whereas some are clearly a waste of time, others can present alternatives for groups to collaborate and make choices. However what would occur in the event you banned them altogether?

That’s what the net media company TheSoul Publishing did when it adopted a “no meetings” coverage throughout their world company. The rationale? Eighty % of the company’s 2,100-member world workforce work remotely, and dwell, in-person meetings weren’t an efficient type of communication.

“I like to evaluate meetings to massive conferences,” says COO Arthur Mamedov. “Talking in entrance of a gaggle of individuals simply turns into an inefficient data alternate. Some individuals would possibly get distracted within the second. For others, the data is probably not related. And through Q&A classes, the speaker could neglect essential particulars. Meetings can simply turn out to be a passive exercise that waste individuals’ time.”


That is very true when individuals are unfold throughout time zones. “You can’t anticipate to get related with individuals in a seamless method,” says Mamedov. “It’s at all times out of enterprise hours for a gaggle of individuals.”

A extra environment friendly approach to talk to a gaggle is to put up data on-line. Transferring the information-exchange course of to written codecs first permits individuals to get up to date at their very own tempo.

How to Ban Meetings

Whereas it sounds easy, rolling out a no-meeting coverage takes foresight and planning, says Mamedov, including that how workers talk is a part of your company tradition.

“Company tradition has to be centered on worth creation,” says Mamedov. “It’s doing issues fairly than speaking about them. Once more, this sounds easy, however there are lot of cultural contact factors that you simply want to handle. You want methods to assist the workflow and really clear rules of communication. As soon as a mannequin of interplay is about up, you possibly can construct deep skilled connections and belief throughout the group.”

For instance, TheSoul Publishing banned inside emails. “Eliminating meetings requires radical transparency, which is often probably the most uncomfortable one for individuals,” says Mamedov. “Emails are the alternative of transparency. Exchanges are solely seen throughout the group. Anybody who wants entry to the data ought to have the opportunity to get it to be sure that everyone seems to be in sync.”


As an alternative, data ought to be shared on a platform that gives everybody with equal entry and on the spot updates every time anybody posts something. “You can’t anticipate individuals to carry out as a group when they aren’t on the identical web page, even on the excessive stage the place our group is shifting,” says Mamedov.

Having a group that may work below this mannequin begins with recruiting. “You’ve got to rent agile people who find themselves probably to undertake these approaches and abandon the outdated approach of doing issues,” says Mamedov. “The extra non-standard your tradition is, the deeper and lengthier your onboarding course of has to be.”

New workers are taught how to talk with one another. “There’s a studying curve and time allowed for brand new workers mainly to digest it earlier than they dive into the working course of,” says Mamedov. “In any other case, it might be disrupting if an individual just isn’t skilled mainly to function in such method. The very first thing they might probably do is strive to arrange a gathering with somebody.”

The Exception

Whereas they’re banned, Mamedov admits that meetings do typically occur, however just for particular instances. “We now have a two-page handbook on how to arrange a gathering, however for them to occur, you want to comply with a really strict protocol,” he says.

First, the worker will want to strive to resolve the problem and not using a assembly, utilizing the company’s venture administration software program. In the event that they attain some extent the place they can not transfer ahead in an asynchronous dialogue, the worker who needs a gathering wants to create a plan and agenda for the dialog beforehand. The request for a gathering have to be finished not less than 24 hours prematurely.

“Then you definitely want to just be sure you’ve invited solely these individuals who really want to take part,” says Mamedov. “Normally, we strive to restrict all of the meetings to two individuals solely and for half-hour most.”

After the assembly, the one that known as it logs within the outcome within the location the place the venture work is saved, so everybody can profit.

“If the assembly was on Zoom, the recording is posted, as properly,” says Mamedov. “With such a sturdy preparation course of, individuals typically push more durable to resolve issues and not using a assembly. And that’s the last word objective.”

Advantages of Banning Meetings

The objective of the no meetings insurance policies is to be sure that everybody stays productive, minimizes distractions, and spends their time on centered work. Mamedov says he will get suggestions from new workers that the no-meeting mannequin is uncommon and a bit demanding at first, however as soon as they get into it, they really feel liberated as a result of their productiveness skyrockets.

“Normally, individuals are greatest at their work and at their career,” he says. “For many roles throughout the company, speaking and discussing issues just isn’t a part of their core job description. We’ve established an atmosphere the place individuals can generate unbelievable worth in a quicker turnaround time.”

Whereas it sounds a bit robotic on the floor, Mamedov says it doesn’t take away the human aspect. “Individuals have a tendency to socialize once they’re working colleagues and kind an expert relationship,” he says. “Even when the whole lot you’re doing is in a thread, you continue to get pleasure from conversations with colleagues.”


Actually, TheSoul Publishing has arrange social platforms, equivalent to e book golf equipment, the place coworkers can join. The main target is on eradicating the boundaries to work that may be irritating, says Mamedov.

“Work has to ship pleasure, and we’re simply attempting to design the processes in such a approach that’s each joyful and environment friendly, so individuals can focus on issues that they’re greatest at,” he says. “As soon as they begin doing extra of what they’re good at, they turn out to be happier generally.”