The decision of whom to invite to a meeting is often a function of culture and custom. However, for Steve Jobs, known for running great meetings, it was about “quality thinking.” A smart attendee list equated to productivity. Productivity equates to dollars.


In his article “What I Learned About Great Meetings from Steve Jobs,” written for Entrepreneur in April, 2012, author Ken Segall discusses Steve Jobs’s practice of “keeping meetings small and made up of smart people.”

For Jobs, the premise was basic – “Everyone in the room should be there for a reason . . . Either you’re critical to the meeting or you’re not.  It’s nothing personal, just business.”  Small and simple were assets that lead to higher quality work.  They are foundational for getting to clarity, creativity and competitive advantage, in morale and productivity.


The principles we apply when preparing for a beauty contest or prospective client meeting are applicable to internal meetings.  There is value and utility in keeping them lean and mean, following the basic construct that focused teams produce great results.

So, if you are looking to reinvent your meetings and kick start something new, here are three recommendations:

  • √   Reconsider regularly scheduled meetings.  Hold meetings when only a meeting will do
  • √   Include only those who are essential and insist on participation
  • √   Set a limited, focused agenda with a designated, hard stop