Team meetings require something that is scarce for all busy executives – time!
Since time is scarce, attending unproductive and unorganized meetings can be incredibly irritating. You begin to wonder why you need to be there and what purpose it serves in your world.
Meetings are important as they bring a team together, but they must be designed with intention and purpose to be useful and effective.
When you consider that 50% of meeting time is wasted, and 39% of people doze off in meetings, you can see the importance that should be placed on well-designed, intentional meetings that generate future for the organization.
What is the purpose of your meeting? Why is it necessary to gather everyone together?
Meetings should be used to discuss items that move your organization forward, and ideally not for items that could easily be determined via email or another communication platform. Many organizations gather to meet to provide updates to each other. A good question to ask is, could we provide updates through another communication mode such as email, Asana or other platforms, and use meeting time for other discussions?
- Speak to the overall health of each department and the business overall
- Struggles or challenges Senior leaders are experiencing and utilize the expertise in the meeting to discuss solutions
- New initiatives, projects, and programs to keep the whole team in the loop
- Speak to what is working and what is not working
Conditions of Satisfaction (COS)
Conditions of satisfaction are the expectations everyone has for the meeting. You could also call these rules of engagement or ground rules; basically, an outline for how to get the most out of the meeting.
- Participate – everyone being prepared to contribute to the meeting’s agenda. Prepared notes, thoughts, ideas, presentations, etc. This speaks to how everyone should prepare to be able to participate.
- Be accountable for promises – when you agree to do something, ensure that you follow through. A lack of accountability within a team is a fast way to deteriorate trust within a team. If someone says they’ll do something, and they don’t; their word quickly becomes worthless.
- Be a deep listener – be engaged and present when others are speaking.
- Make it safe for people to share their ideas, concerns, personal fears – be respectful of whatever your teammates need to say. Having a high level of transparency and realness is invaluable in an organization, but first, everyone needs to feel that they can say what they need to say without negative consequences.
Communicate Through Dialogue Conversations
Most meetings are a monologue, meaning people talk at each other, not with each other. Through dialogue, people can have two-way conversations where their input is valued and contributes.
Support the Team
At times meetings can turn into a discussion about how certain things cannot be done. This is not effective for moving forward. Rather taking a stance about supporting your teammates on their initiatives and figuring out how to make something work tends to lead to people feeling supported and a more positive outlook on what is possible. Teams are built by supporting each other.
Decorum is sometimes subjective for what everyone considers appropriate behavior in a team meeting situation. Having a pre-set agreement for things like cell phone use (taking calls, texting, surfing the net), bathroom breaks (this is an interruption that may stall the meeting), and punctuality (is there a grace period, or does the meeting start right on time). Having clear agreements for these situations removed any ambiguity provides clarity for what is acceptable behavior, and reduces the likelihood of irritation or frustration amongst the group. If any of the situations do occur, the team is within their rights to bring it up and request that the person respects the agreement that was made. This removes the uncertain around if the behavior is acceptable or not.
How often will you meet, who should be in various meetings, who creates the agenda, who leads the meetings, what role does everyone play in meetings? Having clarity on these.
A successful outcome of any meeting is to generate action and to forward action that is in alignment with the organization’s strategic goals.
How would you rate the quality of your meetings?
Team participation – 1 – 5 – do your teammates come to the meeting prepared to contribute to the discussion?
Team engagement – 1 – 5 – are your team members mindful and present at the meeting?
Team performance – 1 – 5 – do your meetings put your teammates into action?
Team Accountability – 1 – 5 – does everyone keep their promises?