Measure ROTI

by Steven M. Smith · 12 comments

How can you quickly measure the Return on Time Invested (ROTI) by the participants of a meeting?

Have the participants rate their personal ROTI during the meeting using the following scale:

4. Superb: I learned something that will save me significant time.

3. Positive: I learned something that will save me time.

2. Balanced: I broke even.

1. Negative: My time invested exceeded my return.

0, Worthless: The meeting was a waste of my time.

Explain the process to the participants by sharing that you will collect data about the meeting so that you can improve the design of the next meeting. First you will gather each participants rating of ROTI using a round-robin poll. Share that you will build a histogram of the ratings. Finally, you will ask some questions and document responses on a flipchart. Ask everyone to make sure that their information is captured correctly.

Collect the ROTI data with a round-robin poll. During this part of the process, do not accept any comment other than a numerical score. Build the histogram. The whole process should take less the 1-minute. Remember the names of people who gave the highest and lowest rating.

Explore the upper extreme — Suberb or Positive — of the histogram by asking the people who rated the meeting the highest, “What did you learn that will save you time?”. This exploration may require getting around the typical bland responses such as, “We had a great discussion about X. Help the person be more specific by asking questions like, What specifically about the discussion helped your productivity? Or, how are going to use what you heard to do something different? Capture the responses on a flipchart.

Explore the lower extreme — Negative or Worthless — of the histogram by asking people who rated the return as low, What went wrong for you during the meeting? And, what needs to be changed at the next meeting so that you rate the meeting higher? If the person consistently gives the meeting a low rating ask her, “Is this meeting a good fit for you?” Sometimes a person doesn’t need to attend the meeting and they know it and the other participants know it. Like the upper extreme, capture these response on a flipchart.

Now you should be left with participants who rated the meeting Balanced. Ask the participants, “Is there anything else I should capture about the meeting?”. Document. If the ratings are all Balanced, explore why the meeting isn’t saving time for at least one person.

Please, do not rate the meeting yourself or provide any feedback. Your job is to listen and capture the participants’ feedback.

If you, the meeting leader, use the feedback to tune the design of the next meeting to increase its ROTI, this process will work. Otherwise, the collection process is a Worthless use of time.