Force meetings to become more productive by insisting that every single meeting should have a purpose-statement - e g "Invent options to increase sales in Asia" or "Decide release date from suggested list of options". Agree to decline any meeting lacking purpose-statement. End any meeting as soon as purpose is fulfilled.
In a lot of organisations many meetings are experienced as a waste of time. Meetings contain too many people, and it is hard to decline a meeting because you do not know what you miss.
During meetings there are many discussions that are related to the subject of the meeting. However, it is hard to judge what is essential or what is not. Seemingly irrelevant side-discussions can wind out eternally because it would be inpolite to interrupt. Also, some people just love to take any chance to take up their favourite issue.
Furthermore, meetings always fill up the time alotted for them, and often the alotted time was not enough anyway - the meeting ends with setting up a a new meeting to continue.
All meetings must have a purpose-statement which states the scope of the meeting. It could be "investigate options", "evaluate options", "make a decision (from list of options)".
Any meeting without purpose-statement should be declined by all suggested participants - as they cannot judge whether this meeting is more valuable than other job they have to do.
Participants can be better prepared for meetings.
Participants can decide not to attend and explain why they think they would not contribute in a meeningful manner.
Discussions that are off-the-topic can easily be detected and cut short as they "are interesting but do not strive towards the purpose of this meeting - please set up a separate meeting to take that discussion forward".
Meetings can end before the alotted time is over as the purpose is fulfilled.
The pioneers of adopting "decilne purpose-less meetings" can seem obnoxious. Therefor it is advisable to adopt this policy as a group, e g a sales-team, development-team.
Declining meetings from people "higher in rank" can be a delicate matter. Ensure to inform the manager to which the group reports. If informed beforehand s/he will probably think it is a sensible idea.
Seek recognition within a group that inefficient meetings is a problem. Suggest the decline-purpose-less-meeting policy as an experiment for a limited period of time (e g "next week"). Inform closest manager. Publish your policy, eg to the mailinglist "all".
Ensure to actually decline all meetings lacking purpose-statement.
Lots of people I have worked with througout the years. Too many to be named.