After any formal meeting — in which he simply announced the purpose, listened to what people had to say, and then left — Sloan would send a follow-up memo with a plan of action.
[Sloan] immediately wrote a short memo addressed to one attendee of the meeting. In that note, he summarized the discussion and its conclusions and spelled out any work assignment decided upon in the meeting (including a decision to hold another meeting on the subject or to study an issue). He specified the deadline and the executive who was to be accountable for the assignment. He sent a copy of the memo to everyone who'd been present at the meeting.
These memos made Sloan an "outstandingly effective executive," Drucker argues, and you might say they were a key to GM's dominance of the 20th century.
Andreessen Horowitz cofounder and former Opsware CEO Ben Horowitz likes to have one-to-one meetings.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg sticks to a strict agenda.
Sandberg brings a spiral-bound notebook with her to every meeting. In that notebook is a list of discussion points and action items.
"She crosses them off one by one, and once every item on a page is checked, she rips the page off and moves to the next," Fortune reports. "If every item is done 10 minutes into an hour-long meeting, the meeting is over."
In one tale, Jobs was in a weekly meeting with Apple's ad agency and spied someone who didn't regularly attend. He asked who she was, listened to her reply, and politely told her to get out: "I don't think we need you in this meeting," he said. "Thanks."
Jobs carried the same standard with himself: When US President Barack Obama asked him to a meeting of tech darlings, he declined. The guest list was too long.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer aggressively vets every idea.
As we've reported before, Mayer gets to the bottom of any proposal brought her way.
Product managers or designers sitting down with the exec have their ideas thoroughly vetted through a series of questions, like:
Some years prior, in 2011, Page sent out a company-wide email with the subject line: how to run meetings effectively. One of his tips was to designate a decision-maker for every meeting. But even more importantly, Page made the point that you might not need a meeting at all.
"No decision should ever wait for a meeting," the email reads. "If a meeting absolutely has to happen before a decision should be made, then the meeting should be scheduled immediately."
Nike CEO Mark Parker doodles through his meetings.
Parker doesn't just manage Nike's $30 billion-a-year athletic empire, he brings his own designs. Parker walks into meetings with a Moleskine notebook under his arm — full of his sketches of new products.
In 2009, cyclist Lance Armstrong was in a business meeting with Parker, who spent the whole time doodling in his notebook. At the end of the meeting, Armstrong asked to seewhat he drew.
"He turns the pad over and shows me this perfect shoe," Armstrong recalls.
The doodles help clarify the brainstorming process, Parker says, one that's a constant balance between what design wants and what business needs.
"I think about balance a lot," Parker says. "Most of us are out of balance, and that's OK, but you need to keep your eye on the overall equilibrium to be successful."
Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman meets with people individually every week.
Stoppelman has a one-on-one meeting with each of his direct reports every week.
"Sometimes I feel like the company's psychiatrist," he shared on a Reddit AMA, "but I do feel like listening to people and hearing about their problems (personal and professional) cleans out the cobwebs and keeps the organization humming."
Evernote founder Phil Libin always brings a high-potential employee to participate.
At any given meeting at Evernote, there will be someone there who doesn't belong.
This is by design. The cloud note-taking startup has an internal program called "officer training," in which employees get assigned to meetings that aren't in their specialty area to explore other parts of the company.
Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly.
She once spent 20 minutes on the phone convincing Coretta Scott King not to set up an in-person meeting with her. Winfrey told her: "Whatever it is, I'm going to be more inclined to do it if you just ask me on the phone. Because if you come all the way here, if I don't want to do it, I'm still not gonna do it. And then you would have wasted your time, and I'm going to feel bad, and you're going to feel bad."
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has weekly four-hour meetings with his leadership team.
"The senior leadership team of any company [has] got to stay on the same page," he told The Journal. "Any organization can easily devolve into a bunch of silos."
What are they doing for all that time? A Bloomberg Business story noted that Nadella keeps a dashboard that measures the performance of all his executives. It includes "real-time graphs and data on financial performance to product usage," and "executives bring out the dashboards each Friday at senior leadership meetings to help coordinate efforts across business units."