17 – What we learnt from using the Amazon 6 page memo meeting format.
Meeting effectiveness is a problem in businesses large and small so we tried a new approach to improve the productivity to come out of our meetings.
We look at Slack. This is an awesome communications tool, which has a free plan (that is the plan we use). It helps decrease our huddle meeting time, provides an easy way to get information quickly and bring the team closer. It is especially important when you are building teams in different locations.
We detailed in experience with the Amazon 6 pager memo before, and we included a sample of the memo that we’ve used in one of our meetings.
The big issue with the 6 pager memo is the creation of the memo. The amount of work in creating the memo is not a small task and a lot of work and skill is required in creating the memo. The memo was 2,700 words in length and a lot of time and effort, along with research was required to create the memo.
We found that the memo format was great from the point of view of getting input from everyone. All of the team members contributed and some of the insights and ideas came from team members who usually don’t speak a lot in meetings. For a cross functional team point of view, this was really important.
We released the memo at the start of the meeting and gave everyone 30 minutes to read the memo. This meant that everyone read it all and understood what was required from them in the meeting.
We discovered some of team had differing levels of insight into the problem.
We had 13 people in the team and the meeting went for 2.5 hours.
We had a lot of insights that we normally don’t have from our meetings and there was a lot of insights as well that were more useful than we normally get.
The challenge would be getting other people with the capabilities to write the memo. There is probably 8 hours or more involved in writing the memo. The number of people in the meeting was too many and that is why the meeting took so long.
We had a lot of great action items coming out of the meeting, so we started putting those action items into the
Our quote for the episode is from Carl von Clausewitz. “Everything in war is simple, but the simplest thing is very difficult.” That sounds exactly like running a small business!