But what you probably don't know is that he hates meetings.
As Cuban says:
"The only way you're going to get me for a meeting is if you're writing me a check."
While that sounds self-serving, it's not: Writing a check means the purpose of the meeting isn't to "explore" and "discuss" and "brainstorm," but to make decisions and act on those decisions. (Which is why Oprah Winfrey starts every meeting with the same three sentences.)
Cuban's position on meetings also raises a larger point. Even though you may not think you're writing a check when you hold a particular meeting, if you own your own business, you are.
Think about the last meeting you held. Add up the hourly rates of everyone in the room. Then factor in the opportunity cost for what every person could have been achieving instead of sitting in that room. Then factor in what you could have been doing.
And then remember this: You wrote the check for that meeting.
So when you do need to meet, when you need to make decisions, set expectations, assign responsibility -- in short, when the meeting has a true purpose -- make sure you keep the following in mind:
1. Only schedule the time you need.
We all think in round numbers, partly because most planners are set up in 30- or 60-minute chunks. We're programmed to expect things to start and end at certain times, say, 10:30 or 9 or 3:30: "round" numbers.
That means a meeting at 9 a.m. is typically scheduled to run until 9:30, even if you only really need 10 minutes to make a decision.
It's like the bigger-house syndrome: After you buy a bigger house, you somehow manage to fill it with furniture, even though you don't need any more furniture.
Plus, there's the "just in case" factor: We'll already have everyone together, so let's schedule a little extra time, just in case.
And what always happens? You fill the time.
Instead, decide ahead of time how long a meeting should last solely on the basis of what you need to accomplish. No fluff. No "just in case." Tell everyone the meeting will end on time, no matter what.
Then stick to it. It'll be tough at first, but people will quickly adapt and be a lot more focused and productive.
2. Leave "information" off the agenda.
No agenda should include the words information, recap, review, or discussion.
Great meetings often have agendas that are no more than one sentence, like "Determine the product launch date" or "Select software developer for database redesign."
Information? Share it before the meeting. If I need to make a decision during a meeting, shouldn't I have the information I need to make that decision ahead of time? Send documents, reports, etc., to participants in advance.
Holding a meeting to share information is unproductive and wastes everyone's time.
Bottom line: It's lazy.
3. Nip "thinking out loud" in the bud.
If anyone in a meeting says, "I'm just thinking out loud ... " cut them off. Immediately.
Why? Their thoughts should already be together. They should show up with concrete ideas based on the information you provided ahead of time. Don't let people muse aloud about the half-baked concepts they want to share just because they feel they have to participate, or because they want to seem smart.
If it's a brainstorming session, fine. Otherwise, expect people to come prepared with fully formed thoughts.
4. Start on time -- no matter what.
It happens all the time. A few people get to the meeting early, and one starts chatting with the person who will lead the meeting. The room fills and it's time to start, but their conversation isn't over, so the team leader keeps chatting for a few minutes so he won't seem rude. (Or he's in love with his own voice.)
And everyone else sits and waits and waits until they're done.
Chat all you want beforehand, but when it's time to start, start. Say, "We need to get started, so I'll catch up with you later," and start the meeting on time.
5. Always establish accountability.
Great meetings result in decisions, but a decision isn't a decision if someone doesn't carry it out. Say what. Say who. Say when.
Never let ownership be fuzzy or unclear. An action item without a clear owner is like an orphan -- it's someone else's responsibility.
Which means it quickly becomes no one's responsibility.
6. Never publish lengthy meeting recaps.
Meeting recaps should only include action items. State what was decided, what will be done, who is responsible for doing it, when it will be done, and nothing else.
Never include items like, "Discussed possibility of reorganizing departmental responsibilities." If all you did was discuss reorganization, then 1) shame on you for not making a decision, and 2) including a "discussion" in a recap implies that group discussions that don't result in decisions are worthwhile.
Don't give general discussions credibility by including them in a meeting recap. People might start thinking general discussions have value.
Where meetings are concerned, they don't.
7. Never follow up as a group.
Assigning accountability means specific individuals are responsible, not the team as a whole.
So don't meet with the entire team to check on progress. Don't waste everyone else's time. Meet with the people responsible. Follow up individually.
If you like, the people responsible can send progress emails to the rest of the group. But don't get the group together just so everyone else can hear about what's been done.
Once you're off and running, the only time you need to meet again is when further decisions need to be made, or when you want to celebrate success and praise the people who deserve recognition.
8. Never, ever, ever meet just to promote "team cohesion."
Team members do need to work well together. But they don't need to hang out together or "bond" to work well together.
Great business relationships are created when people work together toward a common goal and are able to count on one another to do their part, meet commitments, get things done -- in short, to produce tangible outcomes and achieve meaningful goals.
Otherwise, the relationship is more interpersonal than productive.
It's your job to build a productive team. Let your employees establish interpersonal relationships on their own time.
Don't worry. They will, and when they establish those relationships themselves, as opposed to in a stilted "teambuilding" session, those relationships will be much more genuine.