Simplify Your Meetings By Taking a Cue from Steve Jobs

by Fast Company

When it came to leading meetings, it’s no surprise the Steve Jobs approach was all about simplicity.

“Apple encourages big thinking but small everything else,” writes Ken Segall, a close Jobs collaborator, in his book Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success. The idea is that “more brains don’t necessarily lead to better ideas.” In an excerpt of the book published for Fast Company, Segall explains that Jobs believed in “the strict enforcement of one of Simplicity’s most important rules: Start with small groups of smart people — and keep them small. Every time the body count goes higher, you’re simply inviting complexity to take a seat at the table.”

Jobs stood by the stance to the point that he had no qualms kicking out anyone he felt didn’t have anything to add. He was actively resistant of big company behavior, Segall writes, and that included big meetings that went nowhere. For those of us who have been in far too many of those meetings and want to make our next meetings productive, Segall has three pieces of advice:

  1. Throw out the least necessary person at the table.
  2. Walk out of the meeting if it lasts more than 30 minutes.
  3. Do something productive today to make up for the time you spent.

Read the full excerpt to learn more about Steve Jobs’s approach to meetings and how you can simplify your won.

Related Content from OpenView:

For many of executives at startup or expansion-stage companies, there’s simply no escaping meetings, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be more productive. Read this post from OpenView Partner Firas Raouf for advice on reinventing the average board meeting. You can also find OpenView Parnter George Roberts’s six tips for running better meetings here.