In search of: Productive meetings

Make your meetings more meaningful.

Patrick Lencioni’s “Death by Meeting: A leadership fable about solving the most painful problem in business” addresses just how uninspiring meetings can be: “Bad meetings exact a toll on the human beings who must endure them, and this goes far beyond momentary dissatisfaction. Bad meetings, and what they indicate and provoke in an organization, generate real human suffering in the form of anger, lethargy and cynicism.”

His prescription is not fewer meetings. It’s BETTER meetings. He suggests:

• Meetings need a “hook” in the first few minutes. Consider jolting participants to attention by starting out with a problem to solve.
• There may be conflict at a meeting. That’s OK. The goal shouldn’t be to avoid conflict — but to deal with it and solve it.
• Schedule the right kind of meeting to suit your needs. It might be a quick check-in (which helps team members avoid confusion), the weekly tactical meeting (focused on progress updates and ensuring team members are in sync), the monthly strategic meeting (where leaders dive into a topics without any distractions) and the quarterly review.

“When properly utilized, meetings are actually time savers,” Lencioni writes.

This week, resolve to make your meetings meaningful.

PRO TIP: Serve pastries.