August – Meaningful Meetings
Last week our challenge involved determining what type of meetings you were having and if they included any/all of the the seven MODERN MEETING principles. I am going to delve into two of the principles more thoroughly to help guide you to start having only MODERN MEETINGS.
Your challenge this week is to draw a line in the sand and make a decision that from this point forward you will only have MODERN MEETINGS that include all 7 principles. Are you willing to take it on? It will transform your meetings AND more importantly your business….so be ready.
The two principles I wanted to cover more thoroughly in this post are the following:
- Principle #1: The Modern Meeting supports a decision that has already been made.
- Principle #4: The Modern Meeting rejects the unprepared.
Without complete support of these two principles, the others, while still impactful, will not be as effective.
The Modern Meeting convenes to support or counter a decision that has already been made. – Most organizations have meeting surplus and decision deficit. We use meetings to prepare, discuss, prepare some more with no clear cut decisions as a result. We leave the meeting and promise to think about it, do more research and reconvene in yet another meeting to discuss further. ENOUGH! NO MORE! You are no longer allowed to call a meeting before a preliminary decision has been made. If you need input and guidance to make that decision, you do that beforehand with the individuals necessary. If the decision is controversial, get buy-in from the group via one-on-one conversations beforehand. If there are still serious objections or alternatives, use the meeting to debate those and in the end either the original decision will still stand or a new decision will be made by you. If you aren’t willing to change your decision, don’t bother having a meeting – JUST DO IT! The great thing about a decision is once it’s made, it will lead to profound action. Once you adopt this principle, you will no longer tolerate meetings where a preliminary decision hasn’t been made. In fact you can empower people to walk out of a meeting where that is not the case!
The Modern Meeting rejects the unprepared. – Preparation starts with the meeting leader creating a clear agenda and a set of background materials. This thoughtful, useful agenda is a roadmap and a symbol that clearly establishes you as an effective leader. The agenda is also imperative to gain the eager participation of select participants. It requires thought and hard choices. You must think about what is going to happen at the meeting, what the objectives are, who should be invited, what they should bring and how long it will last. It must clearly state the problem, the alternatives and the decision you made plus ask for the type of feedback requested. The agenda should include a statement of what this meeting will deliver if it’s successful. Anything not on the agenda doesn’t belong in the meeting. Agendas demand preparation on the part of the attendees and require pre-meeting work. Any information needed to get attendees up to speed beforehand should be provided. If the attendee doesn’t have time to prepare, they don’t have time to attend the meeting. If someone comes unprepared, you either cancel the meeting or proceed without them. In exchange for preparation, you promise an intense, short meaningful meeting where something actually gets done. If someone doesn’t participate, they don’t get invited to the next meeting. Sometimes the worst offenders are top executives. They stroll into the meeting empty-handed waiting to be briefed as if they were King. No more. In our scenario, the decision is King.
Can you see now how adopting these principles would transform your organization? Start now! Here’s the good news. You don’t need to have a meeting to discuss this with your team because you’ve already made a decision to only have meaningful meetings and you aren’t willing to change your decision. Send a memo letting your team know and then hold everyone accountable – including yourself. It will take conviction and guts and I know you have that!
To Your Success,
The Rector Group