“Meeting Effectiveness 101: Twenty years ago, Intel designed a training course for new hires around Andy Grove’s theories on effective meetings. Today, the program is stronger than ever”
By Bob Andelman
Corporate Meetings & Incentives
Many of the Greatest concepts that flowed from Intel Corp. over the past quarter century can be traced, in some way, back to the mind of Andrew S. Grove. Who would have guessed that the inspiration for effective meetings was among them?
But there it is, right in the pages of the legendary retired chairman’s 1986 book, High Output Management. Grove began Chapter 4, “Meetings — The Medium of Managerial Work,” with the opening volley:
Meetings have a bad name. One school of management thought considers them the curse of the manager’s existence. But there is another way to regard meetings … a meeting is nothing less than the medium through which managerial work is performed. That means we should not be fighting their very existence, but rather use the time spent in them as efficiently as possible.
When Grove’s book was first published, Tracy Koon was one of the people tasked with applying his ideas about efficient meetings to an internal training course at the company’s Intel University.
“We do sit in a lot of meetings,” says Koon, who recently retired from her position as Intel’s director of corporate communications, laughing. “A lot of meetings.” Grove’s philosophy became hers as well: “Meetings are inevitable,” she says. “Let’s look at them as a way to get real work done and real decisions made.
“Intel had had a course about meetings before,” Koon adds, “but it was of the ‘why we have meetings’ variety. I took it when I first got here, and I thought, ‘This is interesting, but it doesn’t help me do anything.’ It didn’t do much to tell you how to make your meetings more effective.”