What!?! No I'm not crazy, well maybe a little. I know most people hate meetings. And for good reason. I've hated most meetings I've been a part of. But the reason I love them now is because now I know what they can be and how to better manage and utilize them.
You see meetings are our playing field in organizational life. Its why the god father of teamwork and organizational health and life, Pat Lencioni named his firm The Table Group.
A Meeting Approach That Works
The Table Group has a great and very thorough model for meeting structures that I personally have used for years and I stand by it wholeheartedly. Here is the link to their model (Table Group Meetings Model). I also recommend Lencioni's book on the topic, (click the title of the book to see it in Amazon) Death By Meeting. And the model is pictured below.
The 3 Cs
My basic approach to meetings compliments the great Table Group structure. In addition to a great structure there also must be Context, Conflict and Clarity.
Context - The first thing you need to do is clarify why you are there. Is it your weekly staff meeting to help your team make decisions and solve problems to move closer to its most important near term goal, trying to solve an important problem or for training and development purposes or setting strategy that requires team members to do homework beforehand? If you aren't sure why you are having the meeting, get clear or don't have it at all.
Conflict - Most meetings should be to make a decision or plan or strategy of some sort or provide some communication or do some training. If that's the case, then most of these meeting types require debate, discussion and that all ideas are put on the table to ensure all options are thoroughly vetted so that a decision and/or plan can be made. So then your role as leader of the team is encourage conflict. That's right. But not arguing necessarily, but more specifically thorough and open debate of ideas. This is what makes most meetings so boring is we hold back or hold our team backs. So seek it out, ask for opinions, let others challenge you.
Clarity - If you don't make sure to clarify what was decided on or committed to at the end of the meeting then the whole thing was a waste. Sorry, it's true. I've wasted plenty of meetings not adequately making sure everyone knew exactly what we should be taking away. Make sure that that is the last thing your team talks about at the end of every meeting, "what did we decide and what are we going to do after we leave this table"?
When you have great meeting structure and foundation you can transform your organization's and people's traditionally biggest pain point into one of their favorite parts of their working life.
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