Meetings? We Don’t Need No Steenking…

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Badges?  We don’t need no steenking badges!

–     One of a hundred great lines from “Blazing Saddles” — a turn on a phrase from the classic Western “The Treasure of The Sierra Madre

Meetings.  Handled poorly they become the bane of our existence.  The lion’s share of the meetings I’ve been invited to fall into (or are dangerously close to) the “handled poorly” category.

Here are three steps toward better meetings

1) Make sure everyone is aware of the goal for the time together.

There are two foolproof ways to get this done.  Ask “What is it you’d like to have at the end of our time together that you don’t have now?” and say “My goal for this time is _____________, does that work for you?”

If it’s worth getting together, we should drive to outcomes.

2) Be relentlessly respectful of everyone’s time.

Start (and end) on time.  If a meeting begins with “we’re just waiting for everyone to gather,” we’re rewarding those that are late at the expense of those who were on time.  A tip:  Schedule 25-minute or 55-minute meetings and then nail the start and end times.  Better yet, schedule 20-minute or 50-minute meetings, starting at five past the hour and ending at five before the hour.  It’s amazing how the overtness of the calendar entries impact culture…just sayin’…

3) During the meeting ask, repeatedly, “How are we doing? Are we on track? Just a check, are we mapping to the expectations we covered at the beginning?”

Then, wait for — and acknowledge — the answers.  If we’re off-track, it’s important to adjust, reschedule, agree to move on toward a different outcome or end it, agreeing (or not) to reconvene when it’s productive to do so.

These three simple-yet-compelling fixes will help us all avoid “death by meeting,” which is not an easy way to go out!

Why is this a hot-button topic — even if it’s unstated — in your organization?

Time is the second-greatest gift we’re given We should treasure it even more than the Sierra Madre!

Editors note for leaders:  There are times when a meeting calls for leaders to break ties, decide or redirect the conversation.  If consensus is your goal, you might want to review the REELAX Model for Leadership.

PS — We’re aware of a glitch in e-mail delivery on Thursday and Friday.  Sorry ’bout that!  Here’s hoping we have that fixed.

 


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Trackbacks

  1. […] And it permeated our teams.  We went after one another, intentionally.  We raised our voices from time-to-time.  Intentionally, and perhaps embarrassingly, but 100% intentionally.  We defended one another and lifted one another up, intentionally.  And we laughed our butts off, sometimes with each other, sometimes at each other, but always together, spontaneously and genuinely.  I bet I’ve laughed more in tough-topic meetings with Owen, Dick, Bill Clay and Randy Watson than during the rest of the meetings in my life, and God knows there have been too many of them. […]

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