For the Best Workplaces of 2022, we looked at companies that have implemented a simple but important policy to solve a problem or improve their culture. This story is one of those case studies.

What do you do when someone starts droning on in a meeting, hopelessly--painfully--lost on some tangent? At Addigy, a Miami-based software company that specializes in Apple device management, they've come up with a way to snap speakers back on point: tossing a yellow flag.

Digressions and off-topic discussions during meetings were becoming a pandemic of their own at Addigy last year. It was cutting into productivity. That's when chief people officer Lynn Erger, working with a consultant to formalize better meeting habits, came across the yellow-flag idea and decided to empower all employees as agenda referees. She ordered a bunch of facial tissue-size flags from Amazon and handed them out the next morning, at the start of a six-­person planning meeting in a small conference room.

"Everybody kind of looked around like, 'Are we really doing this?' " Erger says. The hesitancy didn't last long, though; by the second meeting, employees were letting the yellow flags fly with the confidence of NFL referees.

Today, the flag policy is a popular part of Addigy's culture. When someone starts drifting off topic, the entire room will reach for their flags. "The look on the face of the speaker is priceless," Erger says. "They usually laugh and push extra hard to stay on point."

The policy works in virtual meetings, too: Attendees type "yellow flag" in the Zoom chat or wave their flags in front of their cameras when someone runs afoul of the agenda. According to the feedback Erger has received, employees don't feel muzzled by the system. When a speaker draws a flag, she says, they often write down their tangential idea and bring it up later. It helps that the policy is applied equitably: "It doesn't matter whether you are a vice president or a support engineer," Erger says. "We are all responsible for sticking to the agenda."

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