THE BLOG
07/10/2015 05:45 pm ET Updated Jul 10, 2016

CEOs -- Don't Waste Your Employees' Time

"Time is the coin of your life." - Carl Sandburg.

We all know that time is the most important resource we have. Many of us are great at making the most of it, and manage our own lives in ways that we believe are highly optimized. But as leaders we need to make sure that our organizations are doing the same for our people. Entrepreneurs, in particular, are usually seen as people who use every minute in passionate pursuit of their goals, but even for very dedicated teams, it's easy to wander off the path.

According to a recent survey by Atlassian, the average corporate employee spends over 31 hours per month in unproductive meetings. And even worse, over a third of respondents said they found meetings so unproductive that they basically napped their way through them. Given that productivity is the name of the game--both for the good of the business and everyone's own sense of fulfillment--it's important to create an environment where time is valued and respected.

Here are two tricks I use to eliminate a couple of common time thieves.

Implement the 'No Rehash' Rule

How many times have you had an incredible sense of déjà vu that you've already been in this exact same meeting once, twice, or maybe even a dozen times before? It's usually happens when an organization can't (or won't) let an earlier decision rest, and people insist on trying to rewrite history. To squash this habit, we implemented a "No Rehash" Rule in our meetings where an employee can politely hold up a "No Rehash" paddle to signal to a colleague that a topic has already been discussed. This tactic has helped us cut out repeated discussions and empower employees to blow the whistle when they see it happening.

Deliver Big News in Small Groups

Delivering news to a large group is difficult because it's not easy to hold everyone's attention. And, while it takes more my own time, I've learned that discussing important topics in small groups results in much higher engagement and retention. I recently used this approach when sharing some of our company's 2015 goals, and had much deeper interactions with far more of our staff than I ever had in a larger setting. In the end, I was happy to repeat the same topic more than once to multiple groups. The lesson was that while a large group often appears to be a more efficient use of time, it really isn't if you've failed to engage your audience.

What other methods do you use or encourage your team to use to keep meetings as productive as possible? Please share in the comments below.

Steve Van Till is the co-founder, President and CEO of Brivo, a provider of cloud applications for security management located in Bethesda, Maryland. Brivo offers cloud-based physical access control and video surveillance systems. An avid athlete and photographer, Van Till has been recognized by Security Magazine as one of the "Top 25 Most Influential People in the Security Industry."