To make our meetings more effective, we need to have multiple types of meetings, and clearly distinguish between the various purposes, formats, and timing of those meetings.”
– Patrick Lencioni
But yet the feedback we get all too often is that the meeting load on leaders is one of their biggest pain points. This is often due to the number of meetings, the back-to-back nature of meetings, the ill-defined purpose of meetings and how disengaging they very often are. Meetings without a clear purpose and outcome generally result in less decisions and co-creation and more information sharing. Which frankly can be done via email!
We agree with Lencioni in that effective meetings are fundamental to driving performance within your team and organisation. Effective team meetings are the perfect opportunity to ensure there is alignment and unity around common goals. They create structure, engage, and motivate teams ensuring everyone is heading in the same direction. However, you need to be thoughtful about how meetings form part of your team’s operating rhythm.
The ability to establish an effective team pulse and operating rhythm is a core component of our IMPACT model.
Effective team meetings are outcome focused and drive team and organisation performance. Here are our tips to ensure your meetings are effective:
A clear purpose and outcome
Having a clear purpose and outcome will provide better clarity for the purpose of the meeting and who needs to attend. Ensure that every meeting has the purpose and outcome included on the meeting agenda and in the meeting invite.
Don’t have a laundry list agenda
The human brain cannot process so many varying topics in one sitting, so ensure you address tactical and strategic discussions in separate meetings. The thought process is very different, and this enables you to apply a more structured agenda for tactical discussion and a more fluid agenda for strategic discussion. Take the time to establish a meeting operating rhythm of what needs to get discussed and when.
Be present and ready to contribute
Allow enough time to prepare for the meeting and how you will show up in the meeting. Start the meeting with a check in, having each team member share how they are feeling. Not how their business is performing but how they are all feeling. This will create the space to ensure everyone is present and ready for the discussion.
Ending the meeting
Stop and clarify what was agreed, what the actions are and what needs to be communicated to the teams. This will ensure that there is clarity and accountability of what was discussed to ensure momentum continues after the meeting.
Feedback is a gift
Allow 5-10 minutes at the end of the meeting to do a debrief on how the meeting went. What went well, what could be done differently next time. Continuous feedback is a contributing factor to high performance.
Establishing a team pulse and operating rhythm is the third element in our IMPACT model for building high performance. As one of our clients put it, is “Changing up the cadence of our team meetings to allow time for practising some of our new habits; making more time for giving and receiving feedback; making conscious observations of when (we) revert to old ways”.
As many businesses and teams are executing their 12-month business plans, what better time is there to set in place some great practices. Spending time upfront to establish the meeting operating rhythm and the purpose for every meeting will ensure meetings are engaging, energising and outcome focused.