Meetings Are a Beating

  1. July 23rd, 2013  | 

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Published in Accountability, Problem Solving

In a private workshop I conducted recently for a manufacturing company, the 22 front-line supervisors said their team meetings had started with such promise then hit a wall after three months. Meetings like these can be frustrating to deal with as time goes on because they are not as engaging and can cause employees to tail off and not take part in what’s being said, that is why meetings need to have a set structure that fits into the specific categories so that they are able to keep the momentum going with promising results.

There are three types of meetings: 1) Information sharing, 2) Problem-solving, and 3) Commitment building to drive accountability. The supervisors decided their meetings would focus on problem-solving and then serve as a mechanism to hold one another accountable. Accountability is essential as there needs to be a clear reason why something is happening and who that came from and what needs to be done to sort through the issue/problem so that it can lead to a healthy and forward-thinking conclusion. In every business, there will be continuous problem solving to aid in the growth of a business, a business with no problems isn’t taking chances, no chances means no growth and potential new avenues that can be lucrative. As far as sharing information is concerned, it can be done without a meeting, rather through e-mail or video messages. Creating video messages could be the best option as one can use screen recording apps like Loom or the others like it, and share their perspective in a more authentic and expressive way.

Meetings are a driving force behind businesses, they can either help set the tone for the week or they can wrap up the week by going over what has happened, that is why when a meeting is being conducted it needs to be done professionally and proficiently. Setting up a meeting room, whether that is in their office building or another site, will need to be done in advance ready for important discussions.

7 Business Meeting Tips

The structure for an effective 60-minute problem-solving meeting borrows from the approach I use in my monthly Vistage meetings with CEOs and Key Executives:

  1. To start the meeting, each person has 60 seconds to articulate a near-term problem or opportunity.
  2. The group votes on the two most significant issues described to solve together.
  3. The problem or opportunity is phrased as ‘How do I…” or “How do we…”
  4. Clarifying questions are asked for up to 15 minutes to ensure everyone understands the issue.
  5. Actions for solving the problem or pursuing the opportunity are recommended.
  6. Actions the person with the issue commits to taking are recorded.
  7. At the next meeting, progress is measured against the original commitment.

In a 60-minute meeting, you can typically work two issues for about 20 minutes per issue.

The result: You’ve solved a problem, reduced frustration and increased morale and performance.

About the Author: Greg Bustin advises some of the world’s most admired companies and leaders, and he’s dedicated a career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of hundreds of companies in a range of industries. He’s facilitated more than 250 strategic planning sessions, he’s delivered more than 600 keynotes and workshops on every continent except Antarctica, and he coaches leaders who are inspired to take their career to the next level. His fourth leadership book— Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture (McGraw-Hill) —is a Soundview Executive Best Business Book.


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