These smart, capable business people, who would never start a client project without a clearly defined scope of work, don't appear to realize how wasteful it is to gather co-workers with no compass or map.
I think this happens because it *feels* like work. It seems like you and your meeting buddies are being action-oriented and moving the project forward. And maybe some of the time you are. But I've sat in on hundreds, well thousands, of meetings that had the wrong people in the room, went on for 2-3 times longer than needed, and danced around a decision.
If you leave the meeting where the only resolution to have another meeting, you have failed. Period.
Meetings are vital to business, and when they are well-planned and well-run, they can ensure common understanding and shared vision. When they are merely a response to a need to "do something," they are a colossal waste. Look at your calendar. Into which category will your meetings fall?
The good news: you can make a difference in your day simply by asking, respectfully, "What do we need to accomplish in this meeting?" at every meeting you attend. And if it's YOUR meeting, drop the answer to that question in your invite. Start a trend: un-hide your agenda!