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Less Time in Meetings, More Action

September 4, 2015

Meetings are regarded by many as the least productive time spent at work. But really the opposite should be true. Good meetings improve communication, produce good decisions, generate great ideas and motivate teams.

Unfortunately too many meetings lack purpose, structure and energy and therefore not only waste time but also demotivate good people. In his book ‘Death by Meetings‘ Patrick Lencioni suggests a fresh approach to business meetings, adapting the structure, location and purpose to prevent discussions going off track and failing to reach conclusions. Here is a summary from the book you can use to turn meeting monotony into profitable parley.

First, do away with your existing meeting format. Then:

1) Instigate Brief Daily Updates
This reduces overuse of email, eliminates misunderstandings and false assumptions and ensures team members are well aware of what one another are up to.
• No agenda
• No minutes
• 5 minute duration
• Standing in circle
• Same time
• Same place
• Every day
• Include coffee
• Meet even if several are absent

2) Introduce Weekly Tactical Meetings
• Start with 60 second ‘my week’ update from each attendee
• Agree priorities from those updates to create an agenda
• 6 agenda items max
• Agenda items must be topical, relevant and tactical
• 60 minute duration

3) Introduce Monthly Strategic Meetings
• 2 or 3 topics only
• Strategic not tactical
• Research topics in advance
• Embrace debate and courteous conflict
• Reach decisions

4) And consider Quarterly Off-site meetings
• Deep review of strategic direction
• Competitor analysis
• Team development

Lencioni argues that this approach to meetings will create energising discussions that build momentum and drive your organisation faster toward reaching company goals. If you still need persuading read or listen to the fable in Death by Meetings.

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