by Dr. Rick Brinkman

C-suite executives spend 40% of their workweek in meetings, according to The Wall Street JournalHarvard Business Review found that 15 percent of an organization’s total collective time is spent in meetings. Just how much of that time is effective depends largely on how the meeting is run — but top managers and CEOs don’t get there by wasting their company’s time. They use strategies that maximize productivity, minimize frustration, and end with people motivated and happy. And that approach can increase people’s productive work time by a full 20 percent.

If you want to turn a meeting from a potential obstacle to a catalyst, here’s a useful approach: think of the meeting as an airline flight. Imagine the people at meetings as passengers on a plane, trapped together in a confined space for a period of time. Consider what could happen to mar the outcome: take-off is delayed, the flight path strays off course, the airplane hits turbulence delay. The result could be a bumpy ride that lands too late for passengers to make their connecting flights — or next meetings.

As a leader, here are five effective strategies for taking the meeting from beginning to end — and coming to a safe and productive landing. I call it the Meeting Jet Process: