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Alumni in Action

Ask an Alum: Tim Bratland on Holding Good Meetings During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Alumni Relations

April 10, 2020

Ask an Alumni with green background

The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic raises countless questions and concerns for business leaders. Though the situation is evolving rapidly and it’s hard to predict what our communities and corporations might be facing next, we’re turning to the Business Badger alumni network for insights.

Our new “Ask an Alum” series poses questions to business leaders across the globe, all connected by their education at the Wisconsin School of Business. Let’s learn from and support each other as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic together.

Field of Focus:  Good Meeting Hygiene

We asked members of the Wisconsin Business Alumni Board two questions about how they are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • What is your company doing in the face of COVID-19?
  • What should professionals in your industry or discipline learn from the pandemic?

Tim Bratland (BBA ‘89), vice president, integrated business planning at Post Consumer Brands in the Twin Cities, responds:

Tim Bratland
Tim Bratland

“The COVID19 pandemic has created many challenges for the business community, but it has also provided some unexpected opportunities. One of the persistent challenges that exists in the business world today is the excessive amount of non-value added meetings that occur each day. In my areas of responsibility, working remotely during this crisis has allowed us to revisit and reinvigorate the practice of good meeting hygiene.

Many businesses, mine included, have attempted to implement these simple practices with varying levels of success. But, having the majority of headquarter-based employees working remotely has made these rules invaluable in our current operating environment:

  • Reduce the quantity of meeting attendees, and asking the question of ‘who really needs to be in attendance?’
  • Shorten meeting duration and limit agenda items to key items.
  • Send out agendas and pre-read materials 24 hours in advance of the meeting.
  • Actively facilitate meetings to ensure adherence to the agenda and inclusion of all participants.
  • Review the meeting decisions and action items to ensure alignment.

It has been only a few weeks, but we have experienced some positive results. We are having fewer non-value added meetings, and the meetings we are holding are proving to be more effective. So instead of cursing online meetings, let’s take this opportunity to encourage good meeting hygiene and hope that some of these habits will stick long after the COVID19 crisis is gone.”

Share Your Insights
We invite other WSB alumni to share their insights during the COVID-19 pandemic in this ‘Ask an Alum’ series. Please respond to these questions to be considered for inclusion.